27 April 2008


April 15th was two weeks past. Honey wouldn't do them: Matt Cadd was flying solo.

Forms in his lap, signed and sealed, the cab headed downtown, and was blindsided by a bus. The driver and car were accordioned. A grisly scene.

The passenger stumbled out, battered, alive, envelope in hand.

C'mon, mac, all ya got's a fifty?

25 April 2008


According to the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar for April, today, the 25th, is the Feast of Mark the Evangelist. Thus it is my Namesday. This fellow Mark is reckoned as the author of the eponymous Gospel, and is revered by Orthodox sects as the first Pope of Alexandria, and thus their Founder, akin to the role of Peter in the Western Church. The image of St. Mark below is by Fra Angelico and dates from the 15th century. He looks like quite the party animal, eh? When my parents were kids, growing up in Irish Catholic Boston, babies were named for saints. In fact, priests would refuse to baptize infants unless they had acceptable saints' names. Michaels and Margarets were everywhere. Nowadays we've got Jareds and Travises and Colbys and Morgans and Chelseas--you're an oddball if you've got a name like Mark. It is a family story, apocryphal perhaps, that your man here, M.C., was almost C.M. My mother wanted to name me Christopher Mark instead of Mark Christopher, but was swayed by the annoying Irish custom of "-y" diminutives. My father, James Michael O'Connor, was "Jimmy" until the day he died. His brothers John, Patrick, and Thomas, were always Johnny, Patty, and Tommy. In Ireland, "Christy" is a common nickname for men named Christopher. Mom was too American to have a boy named Christy. Good call, Mom.


22 April 2008

TPP: Web Publisher!

That's right, folks, I'm a WEB PUBLISHER. I thought I was just a dinky blogger in the vast sea of bloggers, but the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA thinks I'm a "web publisher" and they granted me a one-year FREE subscription to their on-line site. I am something, ain't I? You can be something, too. Check it out here. (T'anks to TECHNORATI.)

20 April 2008


The office was on the 13th floor, but they called it the Executive Level. Eleven stories and a lobby: Matt Cadd could add. He wasn't superstitious. An easy gig, other than the Breaking & Entering.

It wasn't stealing. It was stealing back.

Sleeping easy was a tool of the trade.

Illicit Activity: $50.00/hr. surcharge

17 April 2008

The Macallan

You have to love a malt that goes by "The." You don't ask for "Macallan," mate, you ask for "The Macallan." I suppose if you asked for "a" Macallan you might get something else? I wonder. Pet peeve digression: when you log on to alcohol sites they ask your age, and give you a pull-down or pop-up window with years to select. They start with 2008! Are you telling me a baby is logging in to check out the webpage? Shouldn't they skip the first, say, 18 years and start the menu with 1990? I feel old when I have to scroll past all those dates to get to MCMLIX, damnit. But that is no matter. My whisky calendar features a, excuse me, the Macallan 18-year old. I had to settle recently for the 12, woe is me, since I'm loathe to plunk down 130 quid for a bottle of the old stuff. Nonetheless, this whisky is dominated by sherry flavors. It has an amazing sweetness and rich, floral quality to the nose. I'm usually a rough-and-tumble seaside malt kind of guy, with lots of smoke and peat, but the Macallan will make a Spey-sider out of the most devoted Hebridean whisky fan. (n.b. The River Spey in Scotland is like the Napa Valley of single malts, and it is famous for smooth, easy-to-like spirits. Malts from the islands are known for their pungency and quirkiness. Warning: gross generalization.) In fact, The Macallan is a great malt to serve a whisky novice. It has all the richness and subtlety of a great malt, but the balanced, smooth, sweet wine flavor is approachable and satisfying. After you get 'em hooked with The Macallan, then you can whip out the Laphroaig.

14 April 2008

Reading Material To Get Excited About

That's right, you'll find it at BOOKGASM! And it seems that "yer man" M.C. is one of those exciting guys: check out the review of Out of the Gutter #4. Ah hell, you might not, so I'll quote:

Moving into the longer stories, M.C. O’Connor helps get things going with “Lonnie’s Ride,” with the attention-grabbing first line “Carleton looked like the Thalidomide spawn of an elephant seal.” It’s the tale of a Lonnie, a young man who steals a bunch of drugs from Carleton and skips town, catching a ride with a trucker who keeps propositioning him sexually and then claiming “just kidding” when Lonnie freaks out. You can only pull that so many times. (emphasis mine)

My first "review." Pretty cool, eh? If you have not purchased your copy of Out of the Gutter #4 yet, this is your chance. After all, you want to have more Bookgasms, don't you?

13 April 2008

MATT CADD, PRIVATE EYE: Cherchez la Femme

Stolen mail. Bad checks. Credit card fraud. Identity theft. The client's life was a mess.

Matt Cadd worked backwards at County Records. Then he took a drive to the suburbs.

Nice house. Green lawn. New SUV. Quiet neighbors. This gal had it good.

Figured an ex for this, he thought.

Fifty kinds of payback.

11 April 2008


Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book.
by Gerard Jones (Basic Books/Perseus, 2004)

Men of Tomorrow won the 2005 Eisner Award for best "Comics-Related Book." My old pal Marcus is a lifelong fan and collector of this uniquely American creation, and he gave me this wonderful book to read. I like when story-telling and history come together. Mr. Jones has the erudition and insight of a scholar as well as the chops to tell a riveting tale. The confluence of immigrants, organized crime, pornography, capitalism, and technology between America's World Wars, tempered by the Great Depression, fermented into a strange mix that gave us geek culture and the comic book hero. These two things, Jones suggests, are not only permanent features of our popular landscape, they endure in new forms that continue to shape the modern world. Men of Tomorrow is a re-write of the textbook--it gives you a new perspective on the American century by viewing events through the eyes of a couple of first-generation schlemiels. Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel invent Superman, then give it away, then spend their lives getting it back. In the meantime, history sweeps them into obscurity as their creation takes on its own life. Along the way we learn the whole story, not just of the comic book, but of the emergence of American popular culture. And we meet everyone from Margaret Sanger to Estes Kefauver to Meyer Lansky along the way. You should take this one out for a ride.

08 April 2008

Beer without Buzz

I drank a Clausthaler Golden Amber this evening. This is an "alkoholfrei" beer. Rules vary from country to country, but "alcohol-free" means less than 0.5% alcohol by volume. This is way beyond switching to decaf. (I switched back, but that is another story.) Beer is pagan. Fermented grains and their spirits are the drink of shamans and druids. Beer without alcohol is a technological abomination, like GMO corn. Or not. Actually, the brew is rich with flavor and has a distinctively German nose. I don't know what a "golden" amber is, but the stuff is drinkable. It has a sharp, tangy finish. It tastes like beer. It would be nice to drink a beer now and then and not worry about getting too intoxicated. So, I took the plunge, crossed over into the evil darkness of social responsibility and healthy living. And survived. Now I need a beer.

06 April 2008


Her brother died, she was the last of the line. Matt Cadd found her in a senior apartment scrimping pennies on a widow's pension.

"I don't want the money," she said.

"But you could buy your own house, never pay rent again!"

"You didn't know them--I'd rather be broke."

Fifty years holding a grudge: hope it ages well.

03 April 2008


It is always exciting to see a literary startup, especially an independent one. It is even more exciting to PARTICIPATE in such an endeavor. Out of the Gutter 4 arrived in the mail yesterday, and my story "Lonnie's Ride" is on page 38. The issue looks great and I expect I'll devour it this weekend. Kudos to Matt Louis and his gang for the great work. The Justin C. Gordon art is terrific--I really like the illustration he did for my story. TPP readers: BUY A FOOKIN' COPY!!!! Just about everything we consume is some highly-packaged over-processed corporate crap. This isn't. This is blue-collar, authentic, original work by independent free-thinkers. Vote with your dollars. Support a REAL AMERICAN EFFORT!