So yesterday a Loss Prevention officer grabbed me, shoved me against a shelf of cereal, manhandled me into the backroom of the store, shoved me down a flight of stairs, because he thought I’d shoplifted something. It was so sweet when they opened my bag and found nothing. It wasn’t even that they didn’t find anything on me, or in pockets. SO I’ve contacted a lawyer and will be pressing charges against this LP officer. The No Frills staff tried to dissuade me from getting the footage (“you’ll be like…90 before this goes to court.” “So settle. This guy brutalized me for no reason. I’ve already got four broken ribs, which he’s just made worse. I’ve worked in grocery for almost a decade, if you add it all up. 3 years @ a No Frills, 6 years at Whole Foods Market. I have NEVER seen an LP physically assault somebody like that before. This guy…” I said, pointing, “isn’t even wearing a mask. He’s wearing a scarf that keeps sliding down his face. He should be wearing a mask, like every other professional in this store. I’m going to need this man’s name before I leave.”
The P.O.S. is named Andre ____. Some white entitled douchebag who should be slapped and pissed on. I realize that these legal things take forever, but my friend D_____ once sued a bar for allowing in a banned customer and serving him. Later on that night, this once-banned customer stabbed my friend D____ with a pint glass he’d smashed for the purposes of stabbing. This was 2007 or 2008? Anyway, my friend D_____ sued while the guy who stabbed him went in and out of jail. But D____ hadn’t sued his stabber, He’d sued the bar. And bar’s have insurance. So one day in 2015 D____’s lawyer calls him & says “hey, we won. I’ve got a cheque for $65 000 with your name on it.”
D____ went out and bought a fancy car cuz that’s what materialistic people do. But my point is I can sue the store. The cop advised against this “they have an army of lawyers.”
“That might have mattered in the days before CCTV, but I’ve got footage of his prick. The lawyers will take ONE look at that video and say “settle. Immediately.” Cuz I’m asking for half a million. I’m not greedy, I just want to devote my time to reading & writing. There’s so much I’ve always wanted to read.
so. I’m 36 now. It’s been a violent week. I already had four bruised ribs before the fight. But whenever I find myself in a suddenly violent situation, the same song always plays in my head. “X.Y.U.”
The Smashing Pumpkins 1995 double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is oddly sequenced. If it were me (but Alan Moulder is not me, nor is Bill Corgan - he’s too old to be called Billy. Let’s start calling him Bill.) Anyway the first disc (I will always think of this album in terms of its format, the CD. Same thing with Nine Inch Nail’s 1999 masterpiece The Fragile) is loaded with hits. The lead-off single, the last time Bill had hair, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” is track six. “Tonight Tonight” is tack two. And track four is “Zero.” Yes, “1979,” arguably the band’s most towering achievement, is on the second disc, the blue one. But I find it odd that two of the album’s most punishing, industrial-tinged but recorded with a live feel, “Tales of a Scorched Earth” (that’s the one where Bill sings a chorus about being “inside the future of a shattered past.” I don’t know what the line means, but it sounds cool. But then, just a few tracks later comes “X.Y.U.” - my own personal fight song. I love the chorus where Bill makes like a gun and goes “rat-tat-tat! ka-boom-boom.” And hen, shortly after declaring himself to be a “mother-FUCK,” about two and a half mins into the song. And that’s when Bill declares war. What he does here cannot be described as singing. It’s closer to huffing through gritted teeth. And the lyrics make i all the more badass. Have a listen. It starts @ 2:23, and it’s like there’s a period between every word:
I. Am. Made. Of. Shamrocks.
I. Am. Made. Of. Stern Stuff.
I. Am. Never. Enough.
I. Am. The Forgotten Child.
So I’m singing this song in my head as the Loss Prevention Officer is beating my ass in the cereal aisle. But then he trips. This is my only opportunity because he is bigger, taller, heavier, and stronger than me. So I kicked him in the face with my right boot. I didn’t move forward in the song, but I wish I would have now. How cool would it have been to scream “AND IN THE EYES OF THE JACKAL I SAY KAAAAA-BOOM!” waiting for the “boom” part to kick him right in his stupid rat face.
Know what this guys does for a living? Delivers people who are too proud to line up at food banks, too proud to borrow money from friends, and far too proud to ask for paycheque advances, so they steal food for their family, which is NOT a crime, he delivers these people into the hands. of the police, who can either charge trespassing, or charge theft, which is way more serious. So fuck him. I left him there, bleeding profusely from his nose (he shouldn’t have manhandled me, a simple “can you come with me, sir please?” would have sufficed but he grabbed both me arms, steered me into the back, & tossed me down a flight of stairs. I was not getting arrested on my 36th birthday. So as soon as ratface left the room to call his beloved cops, I ran the fuck outta there, He caught me in he cereal aisle, where the described fight occurred. I was lucky he tripped or I woulda spent last night in jail for assaulting a Loss Prevention officer. He picked on the wrong half-Irish kid on the wrong day.
I. Am. Made. Of. Shamrocks.
I. Am. Made. Of. Stern Stuff.
I. Am. Never. Enough.
I. Am. The Forgotten Child.
I am 36 as of today, December 3rd being my birthday, and the birthday of my mother’s father. When my mother old my Irish grandmother that she was pregnant, he made several predictions were based in no prior outcomes. Despite my mother’s first two children being girls, and the two female1 twins being stillborn, I came out a male.
I’m not complaining at all, by the way.
I could have homeless tonight if I hadn’t found my apartment.
Some guy robbed the CIBC near Runnymede and, if you can believe it, turns out there's a LOT of men wearing black boots, black pants, black jackets, and blue masks committing crimes in Toronto! Crimes ranging from robbing banks to merely shoplifting to feed themselves & their pets. I have sympathy for the latter. Less so for the former. Note-passers almost NEVER get away with it. Except one guy. One guy in Canada got off despite passing a note to rob a bank because, & the judge made sure this point was emphasized as crucial, the teller wasn't afraid at all. Not at any time during the interaction.
On Sept. 14 2012 Jorge Ortega walked into a bank with a note the said his Mom was sick and he needed money. Knowing he'd be apprehended in minutes if not seconds, the teller felt no fear whatsoever. The note said "Mom sick, Need money.” The teller handed him the paltry sum of $600, which is why Jorge Ortega pleaded guilty to the much less serious crime of crime of theft under $5,000 in a judge-only trial.
In his summation of the case afterwards, the judge found the defendant to be not guilty in what can only be described as a precedent-setting case. The National Post was fucking furious about this because the National Post hates poor people.
“When someone walks into a bank and hands a teller a note demanding money, it is usually considered to be a robbery,” the judge wrote. “But in the unique circumstances of this case, it was just a theft.”
In her testimony, the teller said she felt no fear at all, neither for herself nor anyone else, and handed over the money, according to the judge, “because he asked for it and also because she felt sorry for him, given that he looked so young and his mother was sick.”
ANYWAY the cops eventually fig’d out how badly they’d fucked up. One apologized, the other didn’t. Cops are assholes.
Then I came home & did about 4 hours of work on BURNING REDD, a “genre” novel about an FBI Agent chasing a kidnapper across the United States. Problem is, this kidnapper is smart. Since DNA was revealed to the public in early 1990s periodicals, the kidnapper has taken just 3 people, a dramatic decline from the 23 the kidnapper and the sidekick took in the years between 1981-1992. Most of the book takes an epistolary format, emails, texts, phone calls, because the man who worked the case. was based out of the Denver FBI Office, and the final 3 kidnapping had all the markings of the Colorado kidnapper. So the case is now in the hands of Senior Agent Patricia Cantrell, but she’s not too proud to ask the former lead investigator for help. “This case is like a crack in a windshield. It keeps slowly growing larger and larger. First it was just Nevada and Colorado. Then New Mexico.”
“Then both Dakotas in a 3-month span.”
“Then Colorado again.”
“Then Joliet, Illinois.”
This isn’t The January Man, that terrible fucking Kevin Kline movie where the killer is mimicking the pyramids or some esoteric, remote bullshit. Pretty soon the retired cop and the non-retired cop realize they have to work together or they’ll ever solve the case. People get old, they die, they forget.
So…BURNING REDD. Looks better in caps. My second novel, but this Redd one will be the first of a trilogy. The second one is called RUNNING REDD. I’m 200 pages into burning, and I’ve got about 40 written for Running. I want to write them either simultaneously or consecutively to retain the narrative voice. And because none of these Redd books are like AtQH, my first novel that took me 11 years and is pretty much “my soul on a plate…presented quivering and hopeful before the world” as Toronto author David Eddie once wrote of his first novel, Chump Change, the writing moving at a much faster pace than what one would call “literary fiction,” which is what my first novel is.
David Eddie does not read his own reviews. His debut novel, 1996’s Chump Change was part of a male-loser-in-the-city trilogy that I’ve put together myself. You’ve got Eddie’s Chump Change, which is at times stunning well-written, and deliberately mirror Hunger by Knut Hamsen. You’ve got Bright Lights, Big City (1984) by Jay McInerney, and. you’ve got The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian, published in 1997 during MTV’s very brief foray into book publishing.
Eddie, who now writes an advice column for The Globe and Mail, once related an anecdote about a friend who kept following him around and would not leave him alone until he read the review of his debut. David Eddie doesn’t read his reviews because even the good ones are “interlarded”(his favourite word) with insultiments (his second favourite word & self-invented portmanteau) and critiques that cause Eddie to “toss and turn for the rest of his life.”
Chump Change is about a man, presumably Eddie’s avatar because both men has first names for both their first & last names. His narrator’s name is David Henry, freshly arrived home in Toronto after trying to make it as a writer in New York (choice line: “I was fetid, not feted.”) and failing miserably. The highest echelon of writing he reached is a desk job at Newsweek, where he essentially inserts names into template letters written decades ago. When quitting his job, he asks his boss if they’ll be able to get by without him and she lets out deep belly laugh, pulling a stack of resumes from one of her desk’s drawers. She gently explains to David that this is merely one month’s worth of CV’s. There must be over a thousand of them. “One is even from a former mayor of a medium-sized Midwest city.”
In other words, Mr. Henry, you are indispensable to nobody. No one needs or wants you. Go home.
So he does. Henry comes home to Toronto and starts eking out a very very modest income as a book reviewer. His reviews are closer to polemics than appraisals, but they resonate with the alternative weekly paper’s view on modern pop culture as trash heaped on top of trash. Then he gets fired and loses his apartment, not unlike what happens to the unnamed narrator of Arthur Nersesian’s The Fuck-Up, who in one week goes from a destitute homeless man with a deep wound on his calf, to losing his best friend to suicide while at the same time gaining access to a fancy SoHo loft and the keys to a Mercedes. He is dating an older woman.
The Fuck-Up, Chump Change, and Bright Lights, Big City are part of the Male Loser in the City sub-subgenre. There are just too many overlaps. Am unexpected break-up is the catalyst for the actions that begin Nersesian and McInernry’s novels. Both David Henry and Nersesian’s titular Fuck-Up bounce with dizzying speed from the good life to actually living on the streets. David Henry’s down-and-outs are more parochial and Canadian: “The next time I asked me Dad for some money he just flatly said no.” Whereas the depths of freezing winter coldness Nersesian’s guy goes through are almost unbelievable. Nersesian has pulled off the task - or maybe it’s easy to do, I wouldn’t know - of making 1980s New York seem strangely alluring and exciting despite its random violence and the fact that it always smells like urine.
Anyway, as mentioned above, David Edie’s friend wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and kept having to shove the paper out of his face, over & over, but not before catching the headline that ran over the review: DIM LIGHTS, MEDIUM SIZED CITY.
As Eddie puts it, “Even headline writers are fucking comedians these days.”
Tell me about it. “Wanna come see my set?” is the new “Wanna come see my band?”
My attempt at a cat-and-mouse thriller. FBI versus a serial killer. It’s been a blast to write, especially after All the Quiet Hours, which was like smashing my head off the train tracks I couldn’t seem to remember well enough to describe properly.
The next “literary” novel is called To The Glum Alumni and follows a duplicitous professor around a modern university. Some of it will be a satire of academia, both my own professor’s thesis and the theses2of his colleagues. But I also want to explore the nature and function of the university, if it has one, in the same way John Williams did with Stoner.
To The Glum Alumni
A book about a “fake woke” professor who’ll do anything to keep his tenure. In the 2000s this means “coming out” as gay even though he’s not. In 2021 it means “coming out” as trans. But when an a series of unfortunate events occur, he Professor is forced to consider whether a teacher like him is even needed in today’s world. He knows he’s not wanted. But he hadn’t ever sat down and tried to gauge just how obsolete he truly has become. Will he slip up & get the boot? Or will he come clean and get the boot? Tune in in 2030 and find out!
And lastly, I’ve got a book of essays I’m putting together called American Losers that traces the stories of people as disparate as the Donner Party, Roger Clinton, Katry Rain, A.J. Weberman, and a bunch of other losers who could only have been produced by America. American Losers (non-fiction essays and biographical studies of some of the dumber idiots America has produced these last 200 years. The oldest figure I hold up to ridicule is John Hancock (yes, he was a smuggler, but he was also a founding father & had a famously stylized signature, both roundly revered & mocked, that even now his name is a synonym for “signature",” though I don’t expect this trend will continue much longer. I think if I live to be 80 and I have to sign some form and I saw “you need my ol’ John Hancock, eh?” the clerk would think I’m about to pull my dick out so she’d discreetly tell another clerk to dial 9-11. The most recent I’m not sure about yet. I’m doing A.J. Weberman, self-proclaimed “Dylanologist” who claims to have invented both the term
& the practice of “Garbology,” which is sifting through someone’s trash, hoping to find something compromising to blackmail with or any other item of value. Weberman claims to have in his possession the carbon copies of two letters Dylan had written. One to Johnny Cash and one to his mother. This as the final straw for Dylan. Weberman had already recorded a nine-minute conversation between the two when Dylan had called him in 1969 asking him to leave him & his family alone. Later that year he left Woodstock, tired of fans making pilgrimages to come see him and crawling around on his roof, he moved back to Greenwich Village, 94 MacDougal Street. But now he was much closer geographically to the biggest Dylan nut of all, A.J. Weberman. So when he found out about the carbon copies he tore out of his brownstone in search of Weberman. It didn’t take long. He grabbed A.J. & administered a beating. Weberman would later claim that he went limp & didn’t fight back because he “deserved it” and had “went too far this time.” The two men never spoke or saw each other again, though as late as 2016 Weberman was posting videos on YouuTube denouncing Dylan for arcane reasons and accusing him of having AIDS since 1993’s World Gone Wrong, despite this contradicting his earlier claim that “Disease of Conceit” from 1989’s Oh, Mercy was a song admitting Dylan’s HIV status, despite the fact that the lyrics are pointedly anti-capitalist Wall Street-driven greed.
So! These are my life goals between now and 40. Books, books, & more books. 2-4 hours of writing every single day. No weekends. It’s only a couple hours.
I’m going to church tomorrow (Church of the Nazarene, right across from my new apartment. through my kitchen window I can see the steeple rising into both blue summer sky and hopelessly grey November skies the colour of a burnt out light bulb.) Were I a priest or reverend, I’d compose a sermon about the darkness and light. Remember the ending of True Detective Season 1:
RUST: Look at those stars, Marty.
MARTY (squinting upward with an unconvinced expression): Hmm.
RUST: You’re looking a it wrong. It’s just one story, the oldest. Light versus dark.
MARTY: Well, seems like the dark has a lot more territory.
RUST: You’re looking at it wrong. The star thing.
MARTY: How’s that?
RUST: Well, once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light’s winning.
I’m going tomorrow strictly for the community it provides but I am not an atheist. Theists really are buncha arrogant pricks. ANYONE or GROUP who claims to have The only honest answer we humans have to the Question: Does God exist? is I don’t know.
Yep. I’m not gonna preach but if ya wanna know about it, ask away. I’m now writing 4-6 hours a day. Then I play with Cookie, read for an hour or two, then try to find sports on TV. Sometimes Netflix surprises me with a decent film. It’s recent documentaries have been really poor in quality. The Birgit Meier one is awful. Atrocious. The Devil Next Door, however, about a man who may have once been a particularly cruel guard at a Jewish extermination camp, is heartwrenching. The man, John Demjanjuk, has been living in Seven Hills, Ohio. He’d been living peacefully there for three decades. As Wikipedia states:
Demjanjuk became a US citizen in 1958. [H]e worked in an auto factory and raised three children.
It wasn’t until the 1980s that Demjanjuk was ostensibly “discovered” by famed Nazi war criminal hunter & American editor of Ukanian News, Michael Hanusiak. Stripped of his US citizenship, Demjanjuk suddenly found himself stateless. He was deported to Israel to face trail. The Israeli court system requires that both the prosecution team & defence team have a practicing Jewish man on faith. Newspapers & broadcasters saw this as Demjanjuk’s greatest legal hurdle. After all, whoever took the case would find himself a pariah amongst his own people.
Fortunately for John Demjanjuk, they found a man who subscribed to the notion that any publicity was good publicity. The defence also needed this Israeli lawyer more than they knew, because his American counsel was meek and ineffective, while the Jewish lawyer Yoram Sheftel was flamboyant, detail oriented, and an excellent ross-examiner. With great ease and finesse, he managed to discredit a number or Israel’s so-called “star witnesses,” one of whom had signed an affidavit in 1945 after the liberation of the camps in which he describes in great detail the murder of John Demjanjuk, a murder he himself planned & carried out with other prisoners using home-made, silently whittled shanks.
Toward the end of the trial of Demjanjuk, his American lawyer was dismissed and Mr. Sheftel was attacked by someone throwing acid in his eyes. He is blind in one of them by more than 80%. During their phone conversation, Demjanjuk assumed Sheftel was stepping down due o the dangers inherent in being his lawyer. But Shefel had no intention of stepping down, telling John he’d made a commitment to him and would see it through to the end. He never thought Demjanjuk was this Ivan the Terrible at Treblinka. The photos of this Ivan & of John from this time period, post D-Day Allied re-occupied Europe, clearly show two different men.
Here is Treblinka’s notorious Ivan, in a photograph from 1943:
And here is a photograph of John Demjanjuk from that very same year:
They are clearly two different men.
From Wikipedia: On April 18, 1988, the Jerusalem District Court found Demjanjuk "unhesitatingly and with utter conviction" guilty of all charges and being Ivan the Terrible. One week later it sentenced him to death by hanging. Demjanjuk was placed in solitary confinement during the appeals process. While there, carpenters began building the gallows that would be used to hang him if his appeals were rejected, and Demjanjuk heard the construction from his cell.
Hearing one’s gallows being constructed seems a particularly cruel form of psychological torture. On 29 July 1993, a five-judge panel of the Israeli Supreme Court overturned the guilty verdict on appeal. The Supreme Court upheld the lower court's rulings on the authenticity of the Trawniki card and the falsity of Demjanjuk's alibi but ruled that reasonable doubt existed that Demjanjuk was Ivan the Terrible.
While the judges agreed that Demjanjuk probably was a prison guard “posted at Sobibor extermination camp and two other camps,” no evidence existed to prove, or even hint, that this lowly prison guard was tasked with the kinds of crimes this Ivan the Terrible, who was evil incarnate, performed daily & delightedly. He hacked off limbs, breasts, penises, arms, and legs when Jews refused to enter the gas chambers. They knew if they went inside those horrid extermination rooms, capable of killing 50 Jewish people at a given time.
So while there was never any doubt that this Ivan the Terrible has been one o the most sadistic guards in all of Nazi-occupied Europe, up there with Josef Mengele and Amon Göth, the former escaping justice, the latter being executed not far from the camp where he seemed to love taking long sniper-shots at interred Jews from the balcony of his bedroom, where he kept a Jewish concubine. Here is a dramatized scene from Schindler’s List, depicting Göth seeking out scurrying people to target and shoot.
Göth “was also convicted of homicide, the first such conviction at a war crimes trial, for ‘personally killing, maiming and torturing a substantial, albeit unidentified number of people.’” He remained unrepentant until the end, facing his hanging, standing on that stool with a look of almost eternal, or ancient fury on his face,
A more recent Netflix documentary called The Motive, about a 12-year old boy who shot & killed his entire family, two sisters, his mother & his father, takes 4 long-ass episodes to tell a tale that could have easily been told in half an hour.
Every person of authority in this film claims to be baffled bu the boy’s lack of motive, except for the defence lawyer who represented the youth. In a childish & immature game of “I know something you don’t know,” this lawyer tells the filmmakers that he know why the boy did it, & of the filmmakers knew what he, the lawyer, knew, they wouldn’t have made the movie. When pressed for further details, the lawyer gives a sly smile & says “no comment.” He then admits that he’s still in contact with him. Then he drops the bombshell that he loves him.
Why agree to an interview at all then? Just for the attention. Look at this guy. I time-stamped it for 1:09 but if it didn’t work, just FFWD3 and look at that self-satisfied smile. He doesn’t know why that 12-year old Israeli kid shot his entire family any more than anyone else, but he loves to pretend he does. Watch at 1:09 as he makes the universal zipped lips signal:
Douchebag. That lawyer used this case to gain fame, especially in light of the soft sentence the judge handed out (6-8 years, something like that). The kid who killed his whole family in less than 2 minutes on a damp cold night in Jerusalem, Israel in 1986 now works in finance, is married, and has children of his own. But the fact remains that he murder was premeditated, he kid tried to deflect blame off himself by screaming “robber!” and running to a neighbours house. The neighbour said the kid could say there til the cops came but that he was very uncomfortable with this kid in his house, a kid who’d just seen his entire family massacred, and was in fact covered in his own father’s brain matter. Anyway, don’t watch Netflix’s The Motive. And let’s just hope he doesn’t kill his whole family. Again. I can’t bear the idea of another family killed for no reason. And I really can’t bear the idea of The Motive: Part 2.
The pacing is glacial. The pronouncements are vague. No conclusions are made or even conjectured. There is almost no content to this documentary, just dull interview with its principal players (save the killer. He was granted anonymity after release. So his wife probably doesn’t even know who/what he is.
ANYWAY, if The Motive is any indication, True Crime has run out of its A material. It’s all downhill from here. I know that’s a good thing because it means less people will be horribly killed, but it spells disaster for the genre. The Motive is extremely boring.
Throughout all 4 episodes I just felt like Calvin in an old favourite Calvin & Hobbes Sunday strip (those were the one’s with full colour and unorthodox, ultra creative panelling). I’ve pasted it below. Just like the lawyer in The Motive, who keeps repeating variations of “If you knew what I knew, this wouldn’t be a mystery to you at all” to the undoubtedly irritated camera crew, Hobbes taunts & tantalizes Calvin by saying he’s got an idea in his mind so fascinating that Calvin would happily pay to know what it is (if he knew what it was…but he doesn’t.) “If you knew what it was,” Hobbes says, “you’d beg to pay ten dollars for it.” Then Hobbes bounds off. Because he knows Calvin won’t be able to let it go. Calvin is Calvin. Predestination defines the contours of his life. He was always going to relinquish that quarter. It was a foregone conclusion before the panel even started. So…of course, he digs out that quarter and pays Hobbes to find out what incredible thought(s) he’s thinking. See below.
Can I still use this word, or is it verboten? Guess I’ll find out soon enough.
Why not thesi? Huh? Sounds good to me.
Now there’s a quaint acronym that also won’t survive much longer. John Hancock & FFWD & No. instead of # are slowly going the way of the buffalo.