Yes, there have been SIX issues of Out of the Gutter! The latest, Sexploitation, contains the usual degenerate fare. I particularly liked Chris Pimental's "The Vigg Train" and "Life Model" by Angela Caperton. What stood out in this edition was the non-fiction, especially the interview with porn writer C.M. Gordon (his shamus is called "Max Load") and the story of the early days of Hustler magazine ("Thinking Pink with Larry Flynt") by one-who-was-there Mike Sheeter. The disturbing "What I Learned in John School: a true story by an unnamed author" was more chilling than most of the collection. Clair Dickson chipped in another Bo Fexler tale--some day she'll have to anthologize them all. I remember thinking I ought to create a recurring character (thus Matt Cadd, Private Eye was born) when I first encountered Ms. Dickson's P.I.. If you are tired of the usual homogenized, corporate crap that passes for entertainment these days, try some independent, small-press, one-of-a-kind stuff like OUT OF THE GUTTER. Founder and publisher Matt Louis has been fighting the good fight and deserves your support. And I should mention that M.C. O'Connor has two stories published in OOTG--one in issue 2 and one in issue 4. So hit the website and support your local author!
The latest Hard Case Crime release is a fun and funny Westlakean romp through the bars, back alleys, and burlesque shows of--where else--NYC. A fellow by the name of Jonny Porkpie ("The Burlesque Mayor of New York City") gets the by-line and is also the main character. Jonny is a reluctant detective. He's the host of a burlesque show that features a faux-poisoning act. Only this time there's no faux--the perfomer ends up actually poisoned to death. Naturally our hero gets on the wrong side of the law and becomes Suspect No. 1. Much to the chagrin of his friends and loved ones, Jonny decides to solve the case on his own. He's a bumbler, naturally, but a determined and resourceful bumbler, and his attempts to piece the whole mess together and clear his name make for a lively and entertaining read. The women make up the best part of the book. A whole host of beautiful, smart, cagey, and scantily-clad femmes populate the pages of The Corpse Wore Pasties, and you can't help but like all of them, even the evil ones. There's Nasty Canasta (Jonny's wife in the story), Angelina Blood, Victoria Vice, Jillian Knockers, Eva Desire, Cherries Jubilee, Brioche à Tête. and LuLu LaRue. What's not to like? The book has a breezy style but is carefully plotted and well-paced with enough misdirection to keep you guessing until the end. My favorite scene involves Jonny hiding in a foam rubber zeppelin (a Hindenburg stage prop) while Cherries lies to the cops about his whereabouts and drops one-liners about "hot air" and "flight risk" and distracts the poor flatfoots with peeks at her uh, assets. Oh, the humanity! Like I said, Westlakean. Not many writers would get me to favorably compare their work to the grandmaster, so a tip of the porkpie to Jonny for a fine effort. Let's hope there's more from him in the future.
I guess I'm supposed to care that Mark McGwire used steroids. Rather, that he admitted that he used steroids. I don't. I don't care that he used them and I don't care that he admitted to using them. This is baseball, folks. Major League Baseball to be precise. It is a multi-billion dollar international entertainment industry. It is not a place for moral lessons. Mark McGwire wants a new job with MLB so he has to toe the party line and apologize regretfully for his past actions. That's it. There's no story and no substance. If he stayed retired he could (and should) keep his business to himself. How about this? You keep your business to yourself and I'll keep mine to myself. And if you are looking for a "solution" to the "steroid problem" then I have one: allow their use. These are drugs, folks. When properly prescribed, administered, and monitored, the danger and health consequences of these drugs become manageable. Just like other drugs in our multi-billion dollar international pharmaceutical world. Professional athletes use all sorts of medical technology to improve their performances and achieve at a higher level. More power to them. As long as they are ADULTS and aware of the risks they should be able to do whatever they want. Just like any other citizen.
That's enough of that.
Spring training is just weeks away! Nothing makes a baseball fan happier--other than the actual start of the season!
We've managed to get past the awkward aughts. Did you go around, like me, saying "aught-five" and "aught-seven" and such? Probably not--I'm a lot geekier than you. You likely said "oh-five" and "oh-seven." That's reasonable, most folks say the Big One that hit San Francisco was in "ninteen-oh-six." Which ought to be a lesson to us. We say "seventeen" for the 1700s, "eighteen" for the 1800s, and "nineteen" for the 1900s. So what are we going to say for the 2000s? "Two-thousand?" I don't think so. Are you really going to say this year is "two thousand-ten?" Perhaps an abomination like "two-oh-ten" is more your liking.
No matter. This is year Twenty-ten.
Next year we'll say "twenty-eleven," and after that "twenty-twelve," "twenty-thirteen," and so on. There, you see? WordMan™ was there when you needed him.