Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Return to Placeholder Place

On our last visit to Placeholder Place, the dashing Hunk Johnson was berating the vivaciously sultry cigaress, Mary Jane, about her extra-maison dinners with a side of fling. Casually blowing him off with a puff of her completely legal smoke, copper, Hunk stormed off off camera, determined to find the stool pigeon playin' jazz with his kitten.

Hunk Johnson: So you're the stool pigeon playin' jazz with my kitten!

Sonny the Snitch: No, Hunk, you got it all wrong!

Mr. Smooth: Snitch is right. I'm the blogger.

*dramatic drag n' scowl*

You lookin' for a Chicago overcoat?

Mary Jane: Lay off him, Smoothie.

Mr. Smooth: Have a dip, Mary Jane. Time to check out my other pins.

Busty St. Claire: We just love these glad rags, Smoothie.

Hooty McBoob: They aren't ringers at all, Smoothie.

Mr. Smooth: Break it up. Nothing but the best for my skirts.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Blue veins, placid, deep, calm currents of turbulence
with mirrors; a tempest still storms, spites in their wake.
What I lost, you give anew, what I have, you take,
to gift a breath, an innocent experience,

clear as winter mourning her end. I have bidden
mine, come, an age ago. Yet, fallen tides rise, spread
forth in tender rhythms that undress in our bed.
Quicksilver eye lashes long at shades I’ve hidden,

sleeping with a humid, swollen sun, clouding this
farewell. Such spirit en plein-air is admired
by guilty ripples I skip. I cannot dismiss

a punishment: with cruelty, what is desired
flows ever near, slow, closer than a stone whose bliss,
cold, transpires in garlands of your fluent kiss.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Green monkeys should take a balsam specific

Another sickly Green Monkey, his flesh riddled with fakery, covered with it, if you will. Bwahahahaha, sorry.

"You unfunny bastard."

Now I'm supposed to explain why I chose these cover songs.

The short version: 'cause they're cool.

The long version:

Metallica, The Small Hours. Originally performed by NWOBHM band Holocaust -- good luck using that name now, you'd have the ADL pitching a hissyfit tent in about five seconds -- this was one of the songs recorded for the 1987 cheapo EP Garage Days Re-revisited, used to break in Jason Newsted after the tragic death of bass god Cliff Burton. Why this paean to the post-midnight dead zone? The supremely eerie intro, neo-doom riffery and lines such as "don't step into the demon's lair," sung with ridiculously ominous bravado, made for much joyful banging of teenage heads.

Mott the Hoople, Sweet Jane. I know that it's de rigeur to say that Hendrix's version of All Along the Watchtower is the best rock and/or roll cover version in existence, but hell, this incredibly hooky, jangled Velvet Underground track, helmed here by the vocals of Mr. Ian Fucking Hunter -- check out that murderously cool vocal/guitar lick buildup swirling around 3:00 -- courageously challenges that notion.

Celtic Frost, Mexican Radio. What the fuck is the band who recorded Morbid Tales and To Mega Therion, two Cyclopean slabs of proto-black/death metal, whose riffs are still stolen twenty years later, doing recording a Wall of Voodoo new wave rave up? Thrown Into the Pandemonium indeed I was, though talking like Yoda I did not, even in my surprise that was great. Hey, works it did. Ask, you should not, for busy I am stuffing my face with barbecued iguana.

Cheap Trick, California Man. Aside from the handful of corporate-approved tracks allowed on commercial radio, I wasn't all that familiar with the Trick growing up: Nintendo, cases of carbonated beverages, soccer practice, oodles of thrashy devil worship and Penthouse Letter-worthy daydreams about the girl with the long brown hair can cut into a punk ass kid's time. Anyway, once I aged gracefully and realized that the boys from Rockford rocked as I imagine a Ford does to Toby Keith and the Ford Truck Man Army®, I was awarded additional happiness by the rock and/or roll gods. This Roy Wood track, recorded by The Move, led me to check out that band and all their British goodness.

The White Stripes, Stop Breaking Down. For an intellectually neanderthal metalhead such as myself, the blues are best when powered by one million eight zillion watt amps turned up to eleven. This is what Jack and Meg White do with this Robert Johnson burner. Bonus points from yours truly since it's about a good man torn down. Hear that, sometimes-better half? I think I'm the one who feels broken down.

"Good thing Mrs. Graves doesn't read this."

No shit.

Faith No More, Easy. These lunatics were good, got Mike Patton in the band and became great, recorded an album that everyone loved with video hits on MTV, followed up with their finest work -- frankly, a musical pillar of the 1990s, may your flesh be gnawed off by Bill Frist's dead cats if you don't agree -- threw everyone for a loop, then followed that up with this North American EP containing a Dead Kennedys cover (Let's Lynch the Landlord) , the theme from Midnight Cowboy which was lifted from the aforementioned Angel Dust, a fucked up original (Das Schutzenfest) and a surprisingly excellent cover of this Commodores tune. And of course, who can ever forget the accompanying video full of wannabe Rudy!s?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Was it because I'm so negative?

Or maybe it was because I quoted Macho Man Randy Savage.

"That was after the tag. Are you drunk?"

No, just hungover.

The Rules
1. Link to the person who tagged you. (Done)
2. Post the rules on your blog. (Ditto)
3. Write six random things about yourself. (Gimme a sec to make some stuff up)
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. (Oh, I know who)
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. (That sounds like work, fuck that)
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up. (Ditto)

Six Things I Just Made Up:
1. I wear neither baseball caps nor monocles, but I do wear spectacles, which make me look smarter than I actually am, but at least I remain consistently ugly. Consistency is good.
2. The Novel From Hell® has hit 85,000 words, 85 of which are good. Now that's being consistent.
3. Unsurprisingly, I have never had anything published. Also consistent.

"You haven't tried that often."


4. The best album of 1979, Motörhead's Overkill, was released a consistent 30 years ago, coincidentally enough, in 1979.
5. I've woken up between 4 and 5 am for so many consecutive days, I cannot remember the last time I didn't. Both are models of consistency, the waking up and the advancing senility.
6. Who am I? Who are you? Why are pancakes slathered with Real Maple Syrup® so delicious?

"That's not a random thing about yourself."

Bullshit. That's the very definition of random. And you know I love pancakes slathered with Real Maple Syrup®. In fact, this meme has entirely too much order. I'm writing an angry letter to myself.

Six People I'm Just Dying To Tag:
1. susan, because she's spending far too much time being creative offline, and thus making us all look bad.
2. the dean, because he needs to keep from thinking about Greg Oden being Sam Bowie. How about that Greg Bowie?
3. okjimm, because he has to get back in the swing of the internets. Now with donuts and beer!
4. tengrain, because I'm a swine.
5. hussein x, because I know he and the rest of DC should mellow out with some fine, illegal crops for the next decade or three.
6. weepy, because randomness, like everything else, makes him cry.

Fine, we'll end on a positive note: Duke got waxed! Muahahahahahaha!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

If you don't vote, she'll eat your brains.

Or infuse your IV with biological waste.

You thought Dawn of the Dead was scary?

Don't make me post more shots of Babs the Impaler.

And if Nora wins, aside from all the horrific, bloody, glorious terror that victory will bring, just imagine all the weirdos and freaks Bubs could arrest while in Los Angeles. Now that's good readin'!

Plus, FREE booze!

Vote early and often!

I assumed he played a tuba

What the hell, here's some BFEE, for texture:

"Sometimes I feel like motherless child, heh heh."

"Don't dirty my beautiful mind."

And that was this month's completely topical political post.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lie to me

Adieu, fond race! a long adieu!
The hour of fate is hovering nigh;

E'en now the gulf appears in view,

Where unlamented you must lie:

Oblivion's blackening lake is seen,

Convuls'd by gales you cannot weather,

Where you, and eke your gentle queen,

Alas! must perish altogether.

-- To Romance, VIII, Lord Byron

Dying, the final rays of the yellow sun struggle through immobile waves of a terra cotta-hued curtain, given perhaps a parting gift by a cat, a passing curiosity setting a motion, opening a way for their feeble glow to embrace the shiny, dust-jacketed repository lording over the room that temporarily, but without regret, anchors my sight and mind in the gloom, out of the still empty leaf seated on my lap, yet to be filled with regrets of my own.

Yes, the celebrated violin has returned, so let us fête Miss Stone and her art as the lugubrious, ponderously stately riffwork hangs above My Body, A Funeral, slowing even further, a deceitfully placid dirge, the sweetness of delicate cuts delving deeper, rougher. At last, a word. It hurts.

A sip, and a descent as you Fall With Me into a pagan desire. They sing of Alexandria of old, and you are Hypatia; I know what will befall you, how the fiery vortex of chords rains, galloping down upon your shattered speech and bone.

Single, then double, plucked vines coil 'round, so redolent of The Scarlet Garden, here, The Lies I Sire so richly bloom; watch them be caught on updrafts of strings classical and electric and I train my eyes back on so many poorly-written lines, so many dangerously transparent lies that veil the truth.

A voice tracked in cobwebs, a subconscious call to cast aside inevitable defeat. Shall I, can I, Bring Me Victory? Another line says perhaps, if it says anything at all. Another sip, a violently applied thrust through the text and the charms of somber piano contemplate the tenderness of a lover long gone, imaginary or, most devastating of all, out of arms' length. Cries dead for ages, hear the Echoes from a Hollow Soul. The wind has picked up.

The sun is down now, sculpted out of the sky; memory flees to that twilight void, carried on an undulating bassline, the transient, yet pronounced step of chords on a meandering, endless path. A Shadow Haunt, I search, through falling bows on a neck, to no avail.

Italian for 'sanctuary of blood,' Santuario di Sangue is a medieval mystery, playing with a life, crawling at seductive pace. That golden, unspoken word, birthed from the irresistible? The narrator may have found his but as I look down, I see that I have not found mine. Another crushing chord, another sip, another stroke of the pen.

A cathartic death-blast, every good novel must contain A Chapter In Loathing, riffs bordering on blackened death, The Forever People resurrected only to watch with glee as we are cast away, supplicating before Death Triumphant, a My Dying Bride daguerreotype refurbished, keys and tempo changes sewn together, an epic Frankenstein, monolithic, quietly fierce.

Quibbles? Heavy, pleasingly lethargic, yes, yet next time, s'il vous plaît, de-produce the edges, monsieurs et mademoiselles, leave them bare, exposed to the elements; permit them to corrode. Recall The Crown of the Sympathy, The Raven and the Rose, a silent dirge, then beautiful slaughter most welcome.

Treasures? Despite the lack of outright venom, save one track, vocal performance and textural dynamics are more varied than on the last long-player. Salutations and a hearty toast to new drummer Dan Mullins as well, a superior performance, sir.

Their best? Certainly not -- Turn Loose the Swans is the tyrant of Planet Misery -- and neither a reinvention but a different shade within their chosen palette -- harbor no doubt that they produce albums, not collections of songs -- and after fifty-nine minutes that bore the fruit of barely legible scribbles whose ultimate destination is a deserving pyre, a rewarding return of beautiful, cruelly generous despair. If none will love you, rest assured that she always will.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Placeholder Place

Hunk Johnson: How about that local sports team, hmm?

Mary Jane: Don't give me that small talk, Hunk, I know why you're here. To blackmail me because I -- dramatic pause and don't forget the cheesy organ -- blogged with you-know-who.

Hunk Johnson: Blackmail is such an ugly word. I prefer extortion. The x makes it sound cool.

*requisite close-ups of sweaty brows and tortured eyeballs in a delicious steadicam tango*

*another pause, less melodrama, more offended thespian*

Mary Jane: Um, wasn't that the cue for the soap opera music? And where are the closing credits?

Hunk Johnson: You think this dump would have production values? What the hell are you smoking?

Mary Jane: Some goooood stuff. I bet you'd love some.

Hunk Johnson: Now who's blackmailing?

Mary Jane: Extorting.

This has been another tawdry and sordid episode of Placeholder Place.

Tune in next week to see if they roll one. In the hay.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Go away kid, ya bother me

Actually, stop on by for a celebratory drink -- how 'bout those fucking Vikings! -- as I didn't get around to posting the following because 1)I forgot, 2)the fucking Yahoo Draft Window was sucking all the electrons from the internets thus my computer was going slow enough as it was and 3)I forgot.

But as you all know, I'm a pig, so here are some scantily clad ladies for either your ogling enjoyment or righteous indignation:

It's fantasy baseball time.

No, not that kind. Unfortunately.

Quiet, Dusty, it's my blog. There will be no hunkery here.

Taking a cursory glance at the rosters, I cannot say who'll emerge the Victorious Champion of the Known Universe and Master of Grass (Wavy Gravy?), but my money is on Mathman because, despite my pleas to the contrary, I'm quite sure that he'll use his vast arithmetical wizardry to cheat us mere mortals. 2+2=5.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mutual of Omaha's Public Transportation Kingdom*

"Hello, I'm Marlin Perkins, and today, we're in for a rare treat, observing the Vicodin Octopus in her natural habitat."

"The Vicodin Octopus, unlike the species of octopi that must remain in the briny deep lest they shrivel and dry out, has each of her arms completely plugged in to human technology, such as email and plastic surgery. In fact, while she applies a dexterous series of one-thumb death punches to her Crackberry, watch as a thick, inky ringtone banishes the fierce, incoherent Jabbering-wocky to the wilds of a seat further away."

"Just as the human drained of hope rides the bus every day, you can be drained of your cash if you ride Mutual of Omaha."

*based on a true story. Names changed to protect the unknown.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Fucking hell, 410 posts in The Google's reader?
That's what I get for going on vacation.

"Yet you didn't even leave Callahooga County."

That's right, former Indian relief pitcher and noted linguist, Dennis Cook. One would also think that I'd have come up with something worthy over the course of those extra seventy-two hours, but to be honest, aside from the Vital Issue of the Day, i.e., fantasy sports, I didn't even turn the computer on and have no idea what the newest Moral Outrage® is in the world post-1900 save for my little hub of self-medicating meditation on being a pro-ownership (get rid of my CDs? Are you fucking nuts?) versifying mendicant at the Mediterranean, never mendacious, always gracious.

Does Jay Cutler still want to be traded to Tajikistan?

Is Dan Rooney the new ambassador to an Irish brothel?

Did AIG return one or two nickels worth of their bailout scratch?

Why am I still doing this?

While I ponder such issues of deep import to the health of my sanity and my soul, here is the 47,339,135,721st set of internets picks of the National Office Pool:

East: Pittsburgh, because, like Kansas, they can't be perennial choke artists forever. I know that's not based on anything statistical or measurable. As if I care, and as long as it ain't Fucking Duke.

South: College is a guards game, blah diddy blah, but Ty Lawson isn't ever going to be 100% over the next few weeks, so why not go with the best player in college, Blake Griffin and Oklahoma.

Midwest: If fairlane was still around, I could rag him for when Louisville got knocked to the hardwood, but given the fact that Big Ten teams not built around Greg Oden tend to flame out, Rick Pitino it is. C'mon, hoops gods, an Ohio State-Cleveland State Sweet Sixteen matchup.

West: Memphis. Why? I don't know, because UConn has already won a title and I haven't seen Missouri play so I have no clue how good they are. Go Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

National Lampoon's Cleveland Vacation

Fiddle dee dee,
a viola and cello makes three,
I've got yawning void as far as sockets,
Hubbled, yours or mine, can see;
I pity a cosmic bloodshot, foo!
Can anyone help me,
"he'll pay you a buck or two,"
can you spot me a five,
"he'll pay you back, no jive." That's Murkan bucks,
enough to buy shoelaces for some Chucks
or half a rubber for your fucks,
how much do they cost,
"he's hitched, so a bit lost;
you understand the frost."
'tis a wintry mix, some do it for kicks,
like losing for the New York Knicks,
or turning tricks at the RNC.
Wait, that induces laughter,
before, during and after
'cause they're less than Shaft-er,
"though some like shaft when self-loathing
or medicating while touristing,
or hell even Shatner sans toupee."
You're so rude, brain, I'm the one who's sane,
remember, and never chuckle 'cause of my grey,
"I do, I do, my my, hey hey,"
advancing every day as strands retreat away,
what can I say I'm older and older yay.
What's in the news,
not sure 'cause of cheap booze,
just threw up on my bargain shoes
'cause I read threepenny views;
no more enemy combatants,
"are they simply flea-bitten varmints,
why not lowfat yogurt or walking feces,
oh your social graces ain't dissed; reader, please."
Yeah, I, we, should go on and choose,
'cause I'm, us, POTUS of this blog,
to stay or go whole hog,
but what do I know, I know Bush likes some blow,
"you like eggs and bacon and that ain't no fakin',"
sorry for the double negative,
but dig that grammar destructive,
shouldn't chaque jour be Halloween,
"oh, but it is in DC, here and there,
skeletons and closets everywhere."
Tweedlethat, tweedledrat,
this fucking thing's going flat,
"like your verse," don't be so terse,
okay see you later, but first this post,
surely less than the most,
and now I'm a ghost bye.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Green monkeys should drink cod liver oil

Notorious John Law and documentary auteur of Nawlins boobdom, Bubs, is filling in for the indefatigably irrepressible icon of inscrutability, Splotchy, with the next installment of the Green Monkey Music Project.

What's the dealio?

Here's the dealio: each song you pick has to have something about it that makes you think "uh-oh, could I go to hell for listening to this?" It has to contain enough references to sex, drugs or violence that, even as you enjoy listening to it, you know it's not really good for you...it might even be harming you in some way. I'm talking sleaze. Mind the blasphemy, though. Please.
"No blasphemy? Gee, isn't that going to be a bit tough for you?"

Tell me about it. But I was sure I could find cinq chansons concerning illicit fornication, illegal substance abuse and/or bloodcurdling physical brutality, perhaps with a liberal dose of associated fetishes. Of course, when many people think of fetishes, musically speaking, images of gothy, PVC and fishnet technodance goobers are conjured up and I fucking hate technodance ga ga, technodance goo goo. It's all I hear!

Oh, Nicki Jaine, you subtly naughty girl. Let us hop, skip and grin our way to ruthlessly toying with all those pretty faces.

Tie me tight, I'm yours tonight? Lordy, the S&M you can catch from a song about spiders.

Fine, be that way, ladies. You all can keep your snooty, talky, art house flicks, Randal prefers dirty movies.

Close the door, I'm busy! No, I'm not lobbing jizz, tempting an eternity of dog paddling in a lake of fire with hairy palms that I cannot see because I am blind --

-- I'm doing something wholesome, shooting up. Sheesh.

On second thought, to HELL, good sir, with your anti-blasphemy blasphemy.

Rage, rage against the dying of the porn! Maestro, tell us all about
dismemberment. It's the only way to exit!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Get off my lawn!

The story is here, a sordid little tale of raunchy sex, kinky food fetishes, rock and roll blow parties, blackmail, prostitution rings, rings around the collar, the county coroner's addiction to sniffing formaldehyde, the county sheriff's refusal to spread the confiscated drug wealth around and nepotism -- I might have made some of that up, but not this --

Burkhart later asked Chilton if he remembered making the threats.

"Sir, I don't remember," Chilton said. "I was too drunk."
Okay, so the story isn't as entertaining as a low-class gangster yarn but I thought the picture of that handsome devil was comical until I realized that that's going to be me in a few decades, scowling, stringy drool flying left and right and jabbing my finger in the Ben Gay-saturated air towards the invisible children trampling my overgrown, weed-infested grass.

Kids, lay off the sauce.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Randal's Redoubtable Recreation Roundup

Okay, chumps and chumpettes, including yours truly, we've got eight yokels and yokel affiliates for the fantasy baseball league: Dusty, her dude, some other dude she knows, Mathman (no fair using your fancy, algorithmic superpowers, dude), a dude named Snave and a couple of dudes from here. That means we need four more suckers for our Saturday, March 21st draft.

Noon sharp!


The fate of Western Civilization® hangs in the balance!

Don't make me beg, for I'm already spending far too much time begging the hoop gods to finally, finally, give Cleveland a break *cough* championship *cough*. After last night's ridiculous nail-biter against a joke of a team, and after two more road games, the Mighty and Righteous Cavs, 50-13, have eight of their next nine at home, whereas the Lakers, Minions of the Black Pit, also 50-13, have a seven-game road trip coming up.

And how about this flabbergastery? For the first time since the Reagan Administration, the Cleveland State Vikings, after knocking off Top 25 nemesis Butler, are headed to the National Office Pool. What happened the last time they were there? Fourteenth-seeded Mouse McFadden and Co. knocked off chair connoisseur Bobby Knight and then St. Joseph's before getting completely jobbed by the refs against Navy. I think they just called another personal foul on Eric Mudd.

"I'm sorry, Admiral Robinson, I'll gladly turn the ball over to you."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Author! Author!

Now that is a moustache.

The Great and Powerful Cthulhu's personal chef has served up a tag chock full of squiggly, deep sea goodness that is broiled to nourish and have me vomit forth twenty-five authors that have influenced my writing. Influences? Moi? The very archetype of thievery originality?


Shit, no one believed me. Back to the black magic drawing board. Sigh. Anyway, there are other authors not listed below that I dig, Dashiell Hammett to name check one, but whose styles I generally don't pilfer consciously or subconsciously, mainly because I'm even worse at those than in the styles I do pilfer. En plus, I'm limited to twenty-five but even things we've read that we don't particularly care for are going to be added to the invisible palimpsest by our brain, independent of our noggin.

"That's right, muahahahahahaha!"

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we sit down to read.

1. For example, Ovid, yes, Virgil or Homer, no. I couldn't write epic shit to save your life -- bloated and long-winded is a different matter entirely -- but I can always get my Amores and Heroides all hot and bothered.

"Metamorphoses is epic."

Stop being technical.

2. Perhaps you see Chrétien de Troyes as an odd choice, given the, well, epic, quality of his stuff, but c'mon, knights in shining armor, damsels not always in distress but better suited -- get it, armor, suit, bwahahahahaha -- to non-dumbassery than the Intrepid Hero®? I have never written a story about a knight.

3. I recall when I first got into poetry decades ago and came across the phrase "Petrarchan sonnet." Who knew there was actually a dude named Petrarch, a dude who obsessed over the mysterious Laura. And, as we all know, there's nothing healthier for the mind and the soul than obsession.

4. Of course, after such fleshy shenanigans, we end up in a particular fiery circle of vast grotesquerie penned by one Mr. Dante.

No, the other one.

5. I'm going to cheat, as I often do, and say La Pléiade, the group of French Renaissance poets whose most famous members included Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim Du Bellay. I have occasionally borrowed an idea or three from them.

6. Sure, John Donne became a preacher, but even his Holy Sonnets have that dark, lugubrious air about them. Of course, his pre-überJesus days were full of that earthy, sonorous verse so worthy of admiration.

7. More diablerie on my part with the graveyard poets, Thomas Gray, Robert Blair and Thomas Warton amongst others. Sure, to the jaded, postmodern yokel, their stuff is hackneyed and cliché, but it's a suspension of disbelief, like a good Gothic horror novel. You either get it or you don't.

8. Speaking of novels not altogether Gothic, nor horror, but full of impact nonetheless, how about William Godwin and his ur-mystery Caleb Williams and the philosophical St. Leon. Oh, what the hell. Toss in Matthew Lewis' The Monk, as well. Now that's some fine, over-the-top evil.

9. Master engraver, poet and visionary, William Blake, like so many others here in relation to the crap I churn out, is more about atmosphere and sentiment. Sure, the words (and imagery) are influential, but it's the contemplation of what lies behind them, what pushed them out from the unseen ether of the creative mind onto the page.

10. Mad, bad and dangerous to know, Byron and the rest of the Romantic giants (the Shelleys, Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth) are one of those 'duh' influences if you have even a passing interest in writing poetry. They're the Stones, Sabbath, Zeppelin all rolled into one (or at least six, in this case). Oh, can't forget about junior partner Beddoes, either.

11. Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther is histrionic (which probably explains why I like it more than most) and Faust is probably his best known work, but there are many more Romantic nuggets of nougat, peanut and caramel goodness.

12. Since we're on the theme of Romanticism in literature -- the more astute reader no doubt noticed that before my helpful hint -- how about the Brontë sisters and their various and wonderfully rich works.

13. Nature Boy John Clare, who went mad and spent his later years in an asylum, wrote some truly beautiful, real, stuff.

14. Like every Francophone writer, yes, even us unpublished types, but not you psycho disciples of Derrida who can go fuck themselves (deconstruct that), Victor Hugo is a giant of towering largeness, whether poetically or with fiction.

15. Edgar Allan Poe. Duh.

16. Charles Baudelaire. Duh, partie deux.

17. Gustave Flaubert. Duh, partie trois. You know, the further along I march with The Novel From Hell, the more I realize that L'education sentimentale is the most kindred spirit of all the great works to what I'm writing. Except the woman in my story isn't older. Now, if I can only make it 1/837th as good, I'll be happy.

18. Despite countless flights of internal fancy, I dig my stuff grounded in some gritty realism, and Emile Zola was the pontiff of such kingdoms.

19. From À rebours, the so-called Bible of the decadent movement, to the journey of Durtal from biographer of Gilles de Rais to Jesushead, the work of J. K. Huysmans is always lurking in the shadows.

20. Another one of those wacky, avant-garde froggy deviants, Octave Mirbeau gave us such prim and proper works as Diary of a Chambermaid and The Torture Garden, the latter of which is not about the secret US network of black sites.

21. Master of the short story and troubled soul Guy de Maupassant, one could say the French Poe, is a veritable tomb of ideas. Hey, what's with that canary?

22. Obscure American poet David Park Barnitz died quite young just past the turn of the century -- 19th to the 20th, if you were at all curious -- and left behind a great, decadent work of verse.

"Can't forget about Swinburne, either."

Certainly not.

23. I wouldn't say I write anything like Kafka, and certainly not in his neighborhood of literary genius, but who cannot help but be influenced by such devilish, terrible, sad storytelling?

24. Marcel Proust. Perhaps the über-duh. I wish I had written In Search of Lost Time, but I see this bastard got to it first. No fair being born a century earlier, dude.

25. I wouldn't say I write anything like Tolkien, either, at least in a world-spanning, good vs. evil clash kind of way, but his robust style -- I think of the heady, ephemeral chapter that takes place in the Old Forest, for starters -- is a tapestry that'll always hang on my mind's wall.

26. H. P. Lovecraft. I've tried my hand many times at writing bleakly atmospheric horror like the master, and failed every time out, but that doesn't mean I can't steal a bit of that obscure juice to spice up my own somber stuff.

Yes, I'm well aware that's more than the allotted number. Take it up with Yog-Sothoth.

Yes, I'm also well aware that there's essentially zip post-World War Two. My parents always said I was an old soul, my kids think I'm simply old and my sometimes-better-half probably thinks my act is growing old. But I do like Stephen King. The old stuff. Thank you, thank you.

Utah, Beach Bum, MRMacrum, and anyone else who writes but that I forgot because I'm getting old.