Monday, January 13, 2014

Ask a Metalhead

Today in our "ask a..." series we ask a metalhead some pertinent questions. For those of you who are not familiar with metalheads, it's a lifestyle composed of black clothing, loud music, and a pathological avoidance of eye contact -or in some cases a pathological abundance of eye contact (see Glenn Danzig). We hit the streets and found a genuine metalhead going about his day. His name is Darkwing and we were fortunate to find him outside of Pip's Deluxe Wash and Dry (a local laundry mat and Keno parlor) waiting for his clothes to dry. 

He was there with his sister Moira and half a bottle of fabric softener. 

Me- "Darkwing is it fair to say that you're washing a lot of black clothing today?"

DW- "Umm I guess so sure, I only wear black. It's the color of the night."

Me- "Of course it is, now would you categorize your music as loud?"

DW- "Sure it's loud when necessary, I mean my music encompasses the entire spectrum of human suffering and alienation."

Me-  "Yes I imagine that would be fairly loud."

DW-  "You bet your ass."

Me- "I've also noticed that you seem to be avoiding any and all eye contact with me, is that true?"

DW-  "I don't need to look in your eyes to see how empty and loathsome your soul has become."

Moira- "Oh my god Shane you're so weird."

DW- "I told you never to call me that, Moira. God, I washed your sheets and I didn't have to you know."

Moira-  "You didn't wash my sheets, I did all the laundry, you just sat on the bench reapplying your lipstick."

DW-  "Yeah but you used all of my quarters Moira, I cashed in that ten I found in the couch cushions when I was looking for my ear cuff."

Moira-  "Oh right did you ever find that ear cuff?"

DW-  "No, I think I left it at Troy's house."

M-  "You mean Raven's Claw?" (laughter)

DW- "No that's Lance, Troy is Grey Ghost."

Moira-  "Why the hell is he called Grey Ghost. That's so stupid Shane. All ghosts are grey Shane. He doesn't need to classify, he might as well call himself just ghost."

DW-  "Not all ghosts are grey Moira, there's a color scale in the spirit world. Spectres, ghouls, demons and ghosts can come in vibrant shades of crimson and the deepest violet according to their elemental nature. Even our own body chemistry can alter the way in which we see the wretched emperors and morbid souls that forever roam the spirit world."

Moira-  "Morbid souls, oh my god Shane you are so embarrassing. You think you're so dark and mysterious but you're just a loser."

DW- "I'm not a loser Moira just because I'm not afraid to push myself to the outermost reaches of pain and suffering. I'm sorry that you can't experience life on the same level of brutal truth as me."

Moira- "How's this for brutal truth Shane, you know Mrs. Tanner's dog Shelia? That little white thing that was always pooping in our yard. Well one day I snuck into her backyard and I put like an entire bottle of Drano in that dog's water dish. It totally croaked."

DW-  "Holy shit Moira that's dark."

Moira-  "You bet your ass."

Me-  "Guys, guys can we get back on track here. Now Darkwing as a metalhead how do you feel about today's political climate?"

DW-  "I'm not a metalhead dickwad, I'm a goth."

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Suburban Voodoo

Dear Black Candle Press ( a subsidiary of Cauldron Publishing),

       My name is Susan Skudowski. I'm a grandmother, a mother of one beautiful son, and a retired secretary at Jack Ruby Middle School.  Recently I found several of your books at our local neighborhood Swap and Shop for feline Leukemia (our yearly yard sale and swap meet - all the proceeds go to Judy's Cat House - it's a cat shelter Judy Finch runs out of her house, we've begged her to change the name as cat house implies a tawdrier scenario instead of what it is, a lonely woman with disposable income who never met a cat she didn't like).  I don't normally buy books at swap meets, and I most certainly don't buy the types of books that YOUR company would publish, but I found myself in a pickle recently and I thought that for $1.20 maybe these books would be the answer to my problems (I should add that originally Sharon Stattler was selling these books for $2.25 but I talked her down to $1.20- I know what she puts in her apple cider - it's gin).

Here's me at the swap meet. I'm wearing the green striped shirt, Sharon is wearing the orange striped shirt- she's a drunk and a copycat.

As I stated before, I don't normally buy books, especially books about witchcraft, but I found myself in a pickle. It started last Christmas when my husband Carl and I went on a Disney cruise instead of attending my daughter- in law Shelley's holiday party (the fact that she called it a holiday party and NOT a Christmas party says all you need to know about Shelley). While on the cruise we decided to have dinner with another retired couple from Michigan, Tom and Sara Crawford. We had a lovely meal with Tom and Sara and Goofy (he ate all the bread at our table and didn't apologize). Well apparently things went a little too well for my husband and Sara as I found them kissing behind the tiki torches at Mickey's luau pavilion (Goofy actually found them first and then he notified me - it made up a little for the bread). I knew that Carl was slipping away from me, so I faked food poisoning, demanded we cancel the trip, and we left the next day for home (I'm also in the process of writing a strongly worded letter to Disney Cruise LTD - I know I didn't technically get food poisoning but imagine if I had, that would've ruined my trip).  Since that trip I've noticed that Carl has become distant and I'm sure he no longer loves me. So as you can see I've been desperate to win him back. I've tried everything I can think of including two types of hamburger helper, and wearing nothing but a Philadelphia Eagles jersey and my slipper socks to bed (the slipper socks stay on, Carl knows that). Unfortunately Carl is no longer interested in me. I decided to drown my sorrows in shopping at the swap meet and that's when I came across your books. Your one title in particular "The Complete Art of Witchcraft" seemed helpful as it included a love spell.

I don't care for witchcraft, but she has a lovely smile.
Also it's not satanism if her last name is a vegetable.

Well, her book included a lot of nonsense about "controlling my tides" (I had a full hysterectomy in 2009, thank you very much), unlocking my inner love demon (I don't have one), and something about turning a faithful household pet into a loyal Shaman protector (that spell led to my poor Siamese cat Jane Seymour biting the neighbor boy who cleans our pool. She took his thumb clean off when he reached into my purse for one of my fun size snickers without asking- his parents demanded that we put her down, it's just as well, she did have feline Leukemia).  

There's a fun size Snickers waiting for you in cat heaven Jane Seymour

My problem began with the love spell on page 29, "the ultimate love potion". I decided that this was the perfect spell to use on Carl to cure his wandering ways. The spell starts out simply enough with basic household ingredients, a pinch of rosemary, a dash of salt. Even the request for sage was simple enough to find (apparently it's a spice you can buy at any grocery store). However, I was not amused by the addition of several hard to find items such as ginseng and powdered newt. I went all the way to a Whole Foods and all I could find was an herbal tea called Gaia's Gentle Ginseng Cleanse (the box unfolds into a yoga mat). Well I couldn't find powdered newt anywhere. I don't even know what a newt is, is it a lizard, a salamander? How in the hell would you powder a lizard? You tell me Cauldron Publishing - it's your book. In the end I had to fudge it and replace the powdered newt with 5 dead bees that had dried up on my windowsill, and just like the time I replaced whole milk with a packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast in a last minute pudding recipe for my grandson Neil, things went horribly wrong. 

He still hasn't forgiven me for that grainy pudding
Just like the pudding incident, I decided to make Neil my guinea pig for the love potion. I decided it was just as well, Neil could stand to love me a bit more (he never meets my eyes when we talk, and I've noticed he seems to prefer his other grandma over me- a woman named Tammy -enough said). I hid the potion in his gluten free, hippie, lunchables that his mother Shelley insists I feed him. He ate them all without stopping and I waited patiently for the love to pour in.

I also threw in some bread crumbs, we all know gluten allergies are for  New York liberals and little girls.

Unfortunately, the love did not pour in. Instead, my grandson Neil began to spew unholy amounts of green vomit and his entire body began to mutate before my very eyes. I thought it might be the gluten but before I reach for the  paper towels, he began to levitate. Well, that certainly wasn't going to work for me, his mother and father were due back any minute from their couple's therapy session ($50 dollars a visit just to talk about Shelley's feelings - she does that for free after one glass of wine). I tried my best to talk him down from the ceiling, but it was pretty obvious that I had turned my one and only grandson (my son has a low sperm count- it's Shelley's fault for talking his sperm to death) into a demon straight from hell. 

On the plus side, he's forgotten about the pudding
Now I'm stuck with a hell beast who spends his days spewing vomit and hovering above the ceiling fan in my kitchen (once it hits the fan, it gets everywhere). I've tried to redo the spell, but as powdered newt is not an AMERICAN item, I've had no luck. Cauldron Publishing, I have to say I'm highly disappointed in your books. Why was there not a warning clearly stated under the spell "do not replace any ingredients with dead bees". Perhaps, this could have all been avoided if you had only taken the time to be a bit more vigilant. You will be hearing from my lawyer just as soon as he's straightened out a few other legal matters for me (mainly my impending divorce from Carl and a civil suit from Shelley for unspecified pain and suffering due to the whole demon thing and my "willful refusal to follow her son's feeding guidelines" meanwhile I can never have company over again for a nice meal, that's suffering- I love to cook). In conclusion I would like you to properly label your spells in the future so that other women looking to reignite a stale marriage and keep their bastard husbands from wandering off after the first woman they meet in a short skirt and a Minnie Mouse windbreaker, don't suffer the same fate.
                                                                      Susan Skudowski

p.s. Neil says hello

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Open Road, man

I met Tony outside of a Trader Joe's in Dansbury. He was smoking a cigarette on his lunch break and eating a bean and brown rice burrito. He said he was the assistant night manager and I said that's cool man, hop on.

Oh me, I'm an ice cold bitch about to take a tour of America's Southwest.
I always ride shoeless and in a bikini, it helps cut down on wind resistance, that's just physics man.

Tony put out his cigarette, went back inside, grabbed a weeks worth of frozen mini pizzas, Candy Cane Joe Joe's, and 4 packs of Australian licorice. He hopped on the bike and we rode off into the night. I asked Tony if I could call him Tony Licorice, he said that was cool.

Tony set fire to his Hawaiian shirt and name tag, he also burned the mini pizzas.

We made it just in time to a Petco Unleashed outside of Cleveland. My rescue dog Molly needed more salmon treats.

They have glucosamine, it's good for her arthritis
Tony Licorice and I got to St. Louis at dawn. We had partied all night with some leather daddies so we were pretty beat. We traded them all the Candy Cane Joe Joe's for a bottle of peppermint Schnapps and a studded belt for Tony Licorice. Those cookies are seasonal man, they're a trader's dream.

We spent half the night brushing Joe Joe's crumbs out of his stache. It was cool.

Tulsa Oklahoma, I got kicked out of a Curves for riding my bike through the gym.

They've got a real square definition of Spin Class.

We spent the night in the desert out in New Mexico. Tony Licorice and I took peyote, lit a fire and got weird. I spent all night talking to a turtle in a sweater vest about Belle and Sebastian, we cuddled. When I woke up in the morning I was hugging a cactus wrapped in an old tube sock. Tony Licorice said he saw the spirit of the road. 

Turns out it was just Peter Fonda. He's got a house out in Flagstaff. We were actually on his property, he was pretty cool about it.

Tony Licorice and I made it to Frisco by nightfall. We parted ways. Last I heard he was still in Frisco working at the Trader Joe's there. They've got a pretty sweet transfer program. 

They've got dental too man. Tony's got a few cavities from all that licorice. Hazard of the road man, hazard of the road.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Glenn Close, closer, closest

Forget Fan Fiction, it's in the past. You're living in the past. Go back to your rotary phones and Bugles (the fried food snack or the horn).  This is the dawn of a new era of super fans, a new day has come. Like the Santa Ana winds, or just a really crisp breeze, the old ways have been blown away. They have been scattered back to the primordial ooze to rest with the mighty Mastodon, or Saber-toothed Tiger, and my favorite scarf that I dropped leaning over the bridge at the La Brea tar pits (it didn't sink or anything, but once a scarf lands in that sludge are you really going wear it again - no way it's caked with prehistoric bird shit, besides I would've had to get someone to hold my waist as I leaned over the railing to get it and apparently tourists get a little squeamish about potentially dropping someone into a vat of ancient dinosaur droppings and sludge that smells like hot Vaseline- although I bet they'd all post a photo of it to their whatever page before you could say Jurassic Park). Anyway, all hail a new era of fandom. The time is now, the time is ripe for...

Glenn Close fan haiku

Your furtive gaze rests
Upon a camera lens
The necklace looks cheap

Annie Lennox stole
Placed in a powdered death match
Your freckles triumph
Shoulder pads denote
A certain type of power
Not to be ignored

So much work involved
Heartless woman is thwarted
Those dogs are long dead

A halo of light
Radiant baseball goddess
Wilford Brimley sneers
High powered Glenn Close
Waited entire season
The pun was case Closed

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A day at the SPA!

It's a day for beauty!
I have a few hairs on my upper lip, will waxing hurt?

I don't like my figure.
I have problem skin. What kind of facials do you offer?
I just want to relax.
My hair is thinning (but no one knows yet).
I've always wanted to know my colors. Am I an autumn or a spring?
Do you have an organic juice bar? It's important to feel good on the inside too.
We like hot stone massages.

It's important to treat myself.
It's not that I'm shallow, but let's face it looks count.

Beauty day!

Friday, March 15, 2013



I can see ghosts! Did you know that? Yes, I can see them, but there's only one problem. They all need my help.

This is Gladys. She died over 20 years ago, and she needs my help setting a few things right before she can move on. Basically it has to do with an argument over actor Raul Julia. She and her sister Marie were having lunch in 1987 at a now closed Greek restaurant called "Dino's pizza Parthenon and salad bar." Gladys was having the stuffed grape leaves and her sister was having a side salad with dressing on the side. Marie and Gladys were having a heated debate about the 1986 Oscars or the 58th Annual Academy Awards. At first, they were both in agreement that a lovely film like Out of Africa should  have never been up against a film like Kiss of the Spider Woman (a film they had not seen of course, but they had heard from a friend that it was pure smut). However, the conversation turned hostile when they began to disagree on the name of the "hispanic gentleman" that had been in the film. Marie was sure that it was Andy Garcia, and Gladys was sure that it was Anthony Quinn. Well, Marie was sure that she had caught Gladys in a mistake because as everyone knows, Anthony Quinn was Greek. Gladys disagreed and an argument ensued until they were forced to ask the waitstaff of Dino's whether or not Anthony Quinn was Greek. Well, the busboy (a Portuguese man) and the waiter (Scotch Irish) both came down on opposite sides of the Anthony Quinn debate.  They even involved the owner of Dinos who turned out to be Lebanese and had simply named the restaurant due to his love of Greek mythology. In the end no one could be sure of what nationality Anthony Quinn was, although everyone agreed that Andy Garcia was Cuban. Two days later Gladys choked on a peach pit and since then she has been trying to get word from the other side to her sister Marie that she was right as Anthony Quinn was born in Mexico. She is however willing to admit that they were both wrong in a way because it was in fact Raul Julia who was in Kiss of the Spider Woman. He was born in Puerto Rico.

     This is Renee Chapman (on the left). Her friends called her "Renee Chapstick". Renee died tragically in a horrible fire. In 1998 she was babysitting and had decided to reward the children with homemade smores. Well the children were so excited that they neglected to remember that they did not have a fireplace and therefore could not melt marshmallows properly. However, they had their hearts set on smores, and Renee was reluctant to disappoint them as she had been the one to suggest smores in the first place. Eventually Renee realized that she could probably melt the marshmallows on a gas stove top. The children were delighted, until they realized that they in fact did not have a gas stove, but an electric stove top. Well, by then the smores frenzy had reached a fever pitch, and Renee was hellbent on providing the children with the promised treat. Eventually, Renee decided to place the entire smore in the microwave. Although the graham crackers became soggy, on the whole the smores were melted enough to every one's liking and the children went to bed happily. As the children slept, Renee cleaned up the mess that making smores in the microwave had created. She realized that in their haste to check the stove for it's melting abilities, they had  also left the oven on and a small piece of last night's dinner that had fallen through the bottom racks and into the bottom of the oven was now smoking.  Panicked, Renee turned off the oven, and attempted to retrieve the smoldering piece of food. She reached deep into the oven and grasped frantically at the burned piece of food. Eventually, she was able to retrieve it with the help of plastic salad tongs. Unfortunately, the plastic tongs were unable to withstand the heat and they began melting. As she pulled the stray piece of charred food free, the plastic dripped from the tongs onto and onto her poly blend top causing it to singe. Well Renee, trained in fire safety, quickly placed the tongs in the sink and dabbed her shirt with cold water. She then proceeded to drink a root beer and fall asleep on the couch to an episode of the X-Files. Unfortunately, Renee had taken up smoking the previous week and she fell asleep with a lit cigarette in her mouth and half a root beer leaving a water stain on the coffee table. The whole house caught fire killing Renee and the two small children she had been hired to watch. Now she roams the netherworld lamenting her fate. When she came to me to pass a message along to the living, I agreed hoping that it might give her family or the family of those poor children peace. Renee's only message however, was to her friend Arthur (seen on the right). It seems that Arthur is the friend who came up with the nickname "Renee Chapstick".  Renee wants Arthur to know that she has always hated the name, and that she thinks he's a dick.

Roberta Simmons has roamed the netherworld for many years. She can be found on the staircase of her mansion waiting for a passerby to whisper her ghostly tale in his or her ear. Hers is a story of desire, unfinished business and a death that came all to abruptly. Roberta died on that very staircase in what the police called "suspicious circumstances". She was very wealthy, and after her death a series of relatives and possible charlatans came out of the woodwork to claim her inheritance. I met with her at the stroke of midnight on the top of the stairs to hear her story and perhaps fulfill any last wishes that she may have regarding the placement of her wealth. Although I was able to communicate with Roberta from the spirit world, she would only speak to me about one subject. Roberta it seems was a fan of her local coffee and sandwich shop "Bagels on Broadway". She had a passion for poppy seed bagels and a large espresso. She was such a fan, that she had agreed to be part of the shop's promotional "coffee card club". Basically, the rules were simple. All Roberta had to do was purchase nine espressos (or bagel sandwiches) each time getting her card stamped. After the ninth stamp, her following trip to the coffee shop would be free. Roberta was not impressed at first by the promotion, but after realizing that she had made it to seven stamps, she began to relish the idea of a free tenth trip. Unfortunately, she was pushed down the stairs by her sister Maureen (Maureen has since fled to the Cayman Islands), and she was unable to get the last two stamps necessary for her tenth free cup. Her only request is that I find the coffee card, purchase two more cups of espresso, and acquire the remaining stamps necessary for the free tenth cup. Then, I am to take the free tenth cup of espresso and place it on her grave in a final act of triumph. Because the price of the two previous cups of coffee would come out of my pocket, I have not fulfilled Roberta's final wish. In an act of revenge, she has promised to haunt me for the rest of my days. I agreed and even suggested that for every nine hauntings, I would allow her to haunt me and a friend or family member of her choosing on the tenth day. She agreed, and was quickly disappointed to learn on day seven that I was an orphan who sees ghosts, and as such has no real friends.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Saga of the Hamburglar

The Hamburglar home
The Hamburglar lives in a modest split level home in Hamburg County Pennsylvania. He spends about 6 months out of the year there maintaining the home and a small vegetable garden. It's his mother's house, but she lives in an Assisted Living Facility called "Cranberry Horizons" in Dillsburg Pennsylvania. She's been there for about 3 years after she suffered a broken hip and shattered knee cap in a ketchup packet accident that the Hamburglar has never really forgiven himself for.  

The problem with his neighbors
 The Hamburglar (seen here anticipating a hug) is not well liked by his neighbors. It all started one New Years eve at a neighborhood party when he accidentally walked in on Mr. Radditch's 16 year old daughter Christine using the bathroom. Unfortunately for the Hamburglar, she told the rest of the party goers that he was "a burger pervert" and he was asked to leave the party. The Hamburglar had several eggnogs under his belt, and he did not take the request well. He threw bread and butter pickle slices at the guests and ran crying into the snow. He was never invited to another neighborhood party again. The Hamburglar tried to retaliate against these snubs by throwing his own holiday parties, but he quickly gave up after spending a very sad Memorial Day with Grimace that ended in a drunken fistfight in front of the local VFW. Also he ran over his neighbor's Yorkshire Terrier Sandy when she was lured into his yard by the smell of burger meat and onions. Claiming that he did not see her amongst all the wrappers, he backed over her in his late model Ford Tahoe. 

The Mayor McCheese incident
Mayor McCheese (seen here congratulating Ernie Higgins, winner of the annual "Mayor McCheese for a day - you'll flip for local government" initiative - a failed program that attempted to reach out to at risk youth through cheese and citizenship) had a major falling out with the Hamburglar in 1997. It all started when they agreed to split the cost of a time share vacation package in Key West, Florida. When they arrived at the house, they found that one bedroom faced the water, and one bedroom unfortunately faced the neighboring house and their recycling bins. They could already see a growing flock of seagulls picking through the bins and both men quickly scrambled to secure the ocean side bedroom. Mayor McCheese attempted reverse psychology by claiming that the he was happy to stay in the back bedroom, as the ocean side bedroom was bound to reek of fish each morning. The Hamburglar called his bluff and agreed to take the ocean side bedroom if it made Mayor McCheese feel "more comfortable". Mayor McCheese then attempted to pull the sympathy card by claiming that "maybe on second thought, the sea air might be beneficial to his asthma" (he then coughed weakly to accentuate his point). The Hamburglar having never heard of Mayor McCheese's "condition" prior to their arrival in Florida demanded to see medical proof of his asthma. Mayor McCheese knew he was caught in a lie and he switched gears by suggesting that they take turns sleeping in the ocean side bedroom. Tuesday through Friday he would take the ocean side room, and the Hamburglar could have it during the weekend. The Hamburglar, realizing that this compromise would lead to him having less days in the room, lashed out and called Mayor McCheese "a serious dickhead" and claimed that he had never voted for him in the first place. Mayor McCheese retaliated by calling the Hamburglar "a second rate degenerate meat thief". They fought for another hour until finally they both agreed that no one would get the ocean side bedroom and they would both sleep on the pullout couch in the den. The solution appeared to work until the following Tuesday night when Mayor McCheese awoke at 2am to find the Hamburglar trying to steal his head. They both packed their bags, took separate vehicles home, and never spoke again.