Archive for August, 2014

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode I: ‘Hang In There, Baby!’

August 23, 2014
Jon delivers on his promise to be an effective 'power bottom'.

Jon delivers on his promise to be an effective ‘power bottom’.

What a rush!  

Big Words Video Episode I is now live, in the can and uploaded directly to ‘the Youtubes’ so that it can offend Buffalo, the country and also the planet!

Here is your synopsis: Tom launches his programme on ‘the Youtubes’ with dear show-biz pal Jon Elston (3-time ArtVoice Best Of Buffalo playwright) to discuss the pros and cons of Lou Gehrig’s disease, snuff films, and the merchandising opportunities of Robin Williams’ untimely demise.

Please be so kind as to follow this link: Big Words I Know By Heart Episode I: ‘Hang In There, Baby!’

Numerous thanks are in order to Jon Elston for being such a good sport (now an elite part of the Big Words I Know By Heart 2-Timer Club), co-host Jon 2 for somehow making me look like the good guy (well, not necessarily the good guy, but not the really bad guy), producer Richard Wicka and Big Words Video Theme Song composer Jay Desiderio.  This episode could not have gone any better than the way it played out.  Please see the post below for additional bonus content!  Big Words Video will return on September 24th!

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Big Words Video Episode 1.5: The Jon Elston Ice Bucket Challenge

August 23, 2014

For those of you who are participating in the ice bucket challenge or any of the other stupid shit that everyone is doing on Facebook, Jon Elston has a thing or two to say to you after he gets douched with a bucket of ice.  Here’s your link right here:

Big Words Video 1.5: The Jon Elston Ice Bucket Challenge

Thanks again to Jon Elston for being a great sport, speaking his mind and following the trends that ‘the kids’ are into these days.  Please click the link, watch and like!  If you want more Big Words Video bonuses, subscribe!

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Travesty Back On Track, Icarus In A Holding Pattern…

August 13, 2014

It’s astonishing how much effort goes into maintaining an existing bibliography.

Even if I never wrote another word, there’s still always work to do. Updating bios, links & the book list itself, porting galleys over to new devices, selling from my current inventory when I’m not even expecting it and overhauling or editing from my database of essays. It’s not a full time job, but to do it properly it probably could be.
Last week I said that it would only be a matter of time before I started writing again. Well, that time has come. I dusted off the current manuscript for Travesty (the follow up book for Mockery) and started quietly adding to it. Working on any project (like the new video show) sparks a certain momentum in the creative part of my brain, so everything else is falling into place. A third of the Travesty book is already complete, which leaves roughly a hundred more pages. Piece of cake.
It occurred to me a few days ago that I’ve had a book published (under the Doubt It Publishing imprint or through other publishers) every other year for the past twelve years. That doesn’t even seem real to me. I just plug along and write one essay at a time. They pile up into a book, the book gets put together, proof read, designed and packaged, released and then promoted.
Icarus On The Mend: Memoirs Of A Manic Depressive was a much different project than anything I’d worked on up to that point (2010-2012). It took a lot out of me, and I wanted to take a break after writing it. Due to personal problems, the limited print run hardcover was never effectively promoted in clubs, stores or libraries. I’m not done with it yet, but I’m certainly not going to promote it at present.
The idea for Travesty was largely inspired by working with Mark McElligott on publishing and promoting his book, Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind. He reminded me that essays (rants, whatever you’d like to call them in this day and age) don’t HAVE to be sixteen pages long and that often, they’re funnier and punchier when they’re short. I went back to basics when I started writing Travesty. When I first started writing consistently for a deadline (for the Clarence High School Advocate, which I was also the Editor In Chief on), I punched out essays on a Brother electric typewriter and wrote each one in one sitting. Essays (at heart) are designed by nature to be written (or read) in one sitting. They shouldn’t be an ordeal that’s digested piecemeal. There’s a real joy in returning to the roots of how I got started in this messy business to begin with.
If time (and routine, and my track record) is any indicator, Travesty will be in readers’ hands by the fall of 2015. I have no timetable for the mass market two volume trade paperback launch of Icarus On The Mend. When all 50 copies of the limited run hardcovers have found a home, Icarus will fly again, so to speak.
And I’ve been mulling over sharing some of the new writing here on the web site. I don’t want to give the entire book away, but I’ll drop a morsel this Friday just to give you a taste of what’s going into the pot. This Friday I’ll post ‘Your Great American Novel’, an essay about the aggravations of being approached when people find out that you’re a writer. After seven days online, it’s going back into the vault. Sound fair?

See you all in three days time,
Tom Waters

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An Open Letter To The Entire Rest Of The Country (and also the planet), Re: Buffalo Bills Fans

August 7, 2014

'I'll hold the ball and you kick it, Charlie Brown'-Peanuts by Charles M. SchultzDear Entire Rest Of The Country (and also the planet),

Just so we’re on the same page, not everyone in Buffalo is a histrionic half-wit.

I write this today to inform you that there are a large number of people who live in and around the city of Buffalo who don’t give the faintest shit about football. I happen to be one of them. I am literate, I have the ability to stand upright and I also have the capacity to reason. While I realize that these are all qualities that are sorely lacking in Buffalo Bills fans, I implore you to entertain the notion that not all of my native Buffalonians are part of the same rowdy crew of simpletons who fly off the handle when their favorite losing team is in jeopardy of being relocated.

As someone who can’t stand football, I was thrilled at the remote possibility that the Bills might be moved somewhere else. Anywhere else. No matter who seems to be on the team, they have a real knack for consistently losing every year including their three consecutive losing Superbowls back in the early ’90s. Many Bills fanatics still wax rhapsodic about those years (“We came so close!”), and often cling to this era more tightly than any ideals, values or belief systems that they may have had before they started wasting the majority of their free time watching football, talking about how they would have personally coached/threw/defended a better game the next day, or drying out in the drunk tank after exposing themselves outside the stadium afterwards.
As an outsider looking in (even though I’m geographically in the same place), I find the fans’ cries of outrage, indignation and mob mentality exponentially sillier than even you do. The concept of projecting all of your hopes and dreams onto something outside of yourself (let alone a ‘team’ that changes key players every year, so, by nature, isn’t really the same ‘team’) that you have zero control over is asinine. To place said hopes and dreams onto tenured losers is even more ludicrous. Every single year, the fans convince themselves that their Champions will succeed (with no proof or even a hope in hell that they’ll perform any less horrendously than the previous season) only to sink into a blind rage and/or complete apathy after a few losing games.
I never voted for the Buffalo Bills (or their fans) to be our Champions, our Gladiators, or to represent me, my town, or our general attitude. All of us in this great city are doomed to the stereotype of rabid idiots who lash out at the rest of the country whenever this precious team is brought into question. Reacting like that conveys a serious inferiority complex, which I’m sure you can agree on. I could care less what happens to them, how they’ll rank in the upcoming season (prediction: tragically awful), or whether or not they’ll end up being relocated to another country.
If I had any say (which I don’t), I’d move them as far away as possible. The fans’ interaction with the Bills is akin to a really bad romantic dalliance where both parties fall in love and break up every year. Like any doomed relationship, it would be best for both parties (the fans and the team) to ‘get some space’, ‘find themselves’ and possibly ‘see other people’. We all know (universally) that long distance relationships don’t work, so the heated passion and blind rancor that fans go through cyclically would eventually taper off and disappear. All Buffalonians might find a useful hobby, get some exercise (which takes place no less than five feet away from your favorite television armchair) and could very well lead fulfilling, fascinating lives of their own, thus eliminating the need to live superstitiously and vicariously through a sports franchise that doesn’t give a flying fuck about them aside from their money and truly blind loyalty. And as a result, you (i.e. the Rest Of The Country and also the planet) would no longer lump us all in as ignorant, superstitious and drunken jackasses.
There’s a great sense of civic pride in this part of the world, but it’s woefully projected onto the wrong thing, in my humble opinion. We have amazing food (perhaps you’ve heard of our ‘Buffalo Wings’; we’ve got other food here too, FYI), an artistic community spoiled with a wealth of diversity, renowned architecture and no shortage of festivals, fairs, concerts and phenomenal music. Do you remember the Goo Goo Dolls? They’re still here, in the event that you forgot about them. Have you heard of snow? We still have some left if you want to share.
That’s about it for now, Entire Rest Of The Country (and also the planet). Thanks for understanding. If you’re ever interested in running news segments about something besides blizzards (those only really happen from August until the middle of May) and Bills fans (they really only make up about 80% of the populace according to our last census), let us know. We’re not going anywhere. Aside from the literally thousands of people relocating like rats off of a sinking ship for better jobs, lifestyles, opportunities and taxes. Aside from them, let us know.

Yours very truly, Tom Waters
Twitter: @tomfoolery444

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A Fond Farewell To A Buffalo Broadcasting Legend

August 6, 2014

Brian Kahle

Just a quick note today for an old friend who was more than a ‘showbiz’ friend.

I just found out (from Ed Honeck at Night Life) that Buffalo broadcasting great Brian Kahle passed away last year.

I originally met Brian in Clarence in 2002 when he was going business to business for his own company, Magic Marketing.  He was smooth and friendly and he always had a natural smile on his face.  I followed up with him about some help promoting my first published book, Born Pissed.  We ‘took a lunch’ at the T.G.I.Fridays in Clarence.  He quoted me a price for a marketing package (it was too high for me, I’m cheap) and picked up the tab.

Somehow or another I wound up on his Night Life Radio show (probably because I wrote bar and exotic club reviews for Night Life) in 2003 in order to promote my second book, Zany Hijinx.  The radio station was housed next to Spot Coffee on Delaware and Chippewa.  While I was waiting to go on Brian’s show with my friend, former mayor Jimmy Griffin (who Brian mixed it up with on AM Buffalo) came walking out after a friendly interview with Brian.  Somehow they’d patched things up and they were on friendly terms again.  That’s just one example of how genuinely friendly Brian was.

Over the years we kept in touch.  Brian moved his radio show to WLVL in Lockport and I went on a number of times.  Any time I had a new book he was happy to let me come on and hawk it.  He always researched before his show, he was always professional and at his core he was a DECENT guy.  There’s a shortage of them in Buffalo journalism, broadcasting, hell, anywhere in Buffalo.  We’d talk before and after every show just to get caught up on our personal lives.  He launched a television show with Time Warner and was very successful with it.

Towards the end of Big Words Radio he agreed (without flinching) to come on as a guest on the show.  I fired away (like I always do) with my usual nonsense and he played right along.  He even told me later that he lost a date because of his association with the show.  He didn’t care.  You can hear the show at this address: http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/audio/11062a.mp3

Brian Kahle was from the old school of broadcasting.  He did his research, he was what I think of as a class act, and he had the quality of being a NICE person.  You can’t fake that.  He and I often talked about how blurry the lines between journalism and advertising have become in newspapers, magazines and on the radio.  The media has devolved into a vehicle for their advertisers, printed solicitations for future advertisers, or attempts not to piss off people who just might advertise at some point.  He knew it and I knew it.  Traditional journalism has all but gone the way of the dodo, and Brian was one of the last guys who tried to toe the line.

I will genuinely miss him.  Buffalo has a little less integrity now that he’s gone.  And in terms of broadcasting, I hope that Buffalo will never forget his contribution, which was palpable.

Rest in peace, Brian.

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For Immediate Release: Big Words Video Now In Pre-Production: Call For Artists

August 4, 2014

Big Words Warhol Fan Pic by Marisa DillingerHey all,

All my life I’ve been terrified of change.

I’ve fought it tooth and nail. I’ve raged against it. I’ve run away from it. I’ve denied its very existence as a force at work in my life. And do you want to know something? It happened anyway.

Change is the only constant in our lives. It’s taken me 38 years to realize that the best way to deal with change is by surrendering to it. Ironically, changing yourself is next to impossible. With a lot of help in the last nine months, I’ve been able to do that.

I’m not the same person anymore. It’s that simple. This change came at great personal cost. In order to accomplish this, I had to let go of everything I was and almost everything I valued. Much of my life was in ruins anyway, and I was disgusted with the person I’d become.

It’s funny how you can go through your life expecting it to have a set trajectory: college, prestige, courtship, a bibliography, a column, a marriage, a radio show, etc. And then life takes a turn, or hops off the tracks and all of a sudden you’re in uncharted territory. So what do you do? The map book goes out the window, all the clothes that were packed for the trip are no longer valid and even the North Star is out of sight.

What did I do? I put my foot on the gas.

My old life is gone. Kaput. Dead and buried.

Out of the ashes came a life I never expected. Not even in my wildest dreams. Somehow I’ve found a way to look the world square in the eye without flinching now. Somehow I’ve found a way out of the vicious, vindictive pattern I perpetuated, lashing out at anyone nearby and often at the people who meant the most to me. When the world didn’t respond the way that I wanted it to, I flipped my lid, sat in the middle of the floor and threw a good old fashioned tantrum until there was nothing left to salvage.

With change as a constant, though, it came as no surprise to find out that mevio.com had closed their doors forever. This means that The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour is no longer (and may never be again) on iTunes. Luckily, producer Richard Wicka kept a secret stash of shows out of sight on one of his websites, Think Twice Radio. Again, you can click the new link to the right under The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour to explore and listen to the archives.

Richard and I resumed conversation a few weeks ago after a long vacuum and I told him I was afraid of the chain reaction that he would trigger if I set foot inside his Home Of The Future. What a fool I am. The fuse lit the second I started talking to him again, perhaps sooner.

I spent four years grinding out episodes of Big Words Radio from 2008-2012 and Richard was with me every step of the way. When he initially asked me to host a show, my internal logic was ‘Why not? It’s something new and I’m up for the challenge.’ It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable projects in my career. Doing the show was cathartic, therapeutic and downright fun. At the top of our game, the show was pulling in about 3,000 unique hits a month. That’s not too shabby for a stupid little podcast with schticky sound props that we picked up at dollar stores. In that four years, I had the pleasure of interviewing cartoonists, writers, musicians, adult film stars, actors, directors, editors and a whole host of other fascinating subjects.

So what now?

It’s time to change it up a bit.

On August 22nd, Big Words I Know By Heart is going video. Once the show is edited and buffered it will be posted to YouTube as soon as possible compliments of Richard Wicka, one of maybe four great mentors that I’ve had throughout my career. I suggest that you type in ‘Richard Wicka’ ON YouTube and subscribe as quickly as you can. As of August 23rd, Big Words Radio will change its spots to Big Words I Know By Heart Video! And don’t you worry, there will be plenty of bonus clips up on my own account on YouTube above and beyond the half hour format that Richard and I are adhering to. You can find my account by searching ‘Tom Waters’ or ‘bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com’.

With a change in the media all the old rules have to go out the window. A visual medium is an entirely different animal. With a few exceptions, the guests will have to be local artists who can appear in person instead of national celebrities. As a result, the focus will shift to more of a Buffalo-centric format. My sense of humor has evolved. I’m faster and sharper and will go straight for the throat with more severity than I’ve ever been capable of. Comedy is murder, and Aristotle said that all humor is derived from cruelty, so let’s see what sort of wholesale butchery we can commit together, eh?

There are a lot of plans in the works. The wheels are already in motion and the trajectory is no longer up to me if it ever was. It’s high time to make as many people laugh as I possibly can at their cubicles, their home computer desks or yes (goddamnit), on their smart phones. Keep a keen eye trained on the YouTubes and be ready on August 23rd because I’m not going to start out with any soft punches. And please tell all your friends. Word of mouth (or so I’ve heard) is a wonderful form of promotion.

If you’re a Buffalo artist, whether it’s music, writing, painting, drawing, sculpting, cooking or anything else that’s entertaining in a visual spectrum, I’m taking all comers. Feel free to email me at: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com to book a studio date sooner rather than later. The show will air once a month until further notice.

And you probably want to know what’s going on with my writing. My answer to that is: It’s only a matter of time.

I’m not playing the Buffalo promotional game by the current establishment’s rules anymore (if I ever did). I’m not taking my ball and going home. I’m taking my ball and building a better playground. Podcasts are dying. Newspapers are folding left and right. Marketing has evolved into a free form of networking, hash-tagging and viral games of connecting the dots. If you’re an established member of local or national media and you want to be involved, you’re in. If not, that’s fine too.

If you’re a viewer, reader or listener who’s new to the party, thanks for joining us. You couldn’t have picked a better time than right now to hop on board. For those of you who have followed me, supported me and encouraged me since the beginning, thanks for hanging in there. Things are going to get interesting again. Things are going to get very entertaining and offensive and funny and thought provoking again.

See you at the picture show in less than three weeks.

Tom Waters

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Sterlace & Saracki #45: Wholesome To The Max, Good News & even more good news…

August 3, 2014
A room full of narcissists.

A room full of narcissists.

Okay, folks!

The Greg Sterlace Show appearance is in the can and is now live on ‘the YouTubes’.  You can view the show in all of it’s highly offensive glory at:

Sterlace & Saracki #45: Wholesome To The Max

We had a fantastic time.Show producer Richard Wicka assures me that the episode will air on Time Warner Cable some time in September on a Friday at 7 p.m.  I’ll believe that when I see it.  Someone is bound to get sued as a result of this episode and picketing against The Home Of The Future may be a distinct possibility.  Whatever the case, it’s just good comedy.  Many thanks to Sterlace, Saracki, Amy Smardz & the rest of Greg’s band of merry pranksters for having me on the show and making it happen.

As for The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour, there’s good news for those of you who are late to the party.  The majority of the shows are in fact still available online.  All  you have to do is click the newly revised link to the right of this post in my ‘Links’ section under ‘The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour’ and you can listen to four years worth of podcasts.

And for purposes I’m not yet ready to reveal, I now have a Twitter and Instagram account.  It’s time to get with the 21st century.  You can follow my exploits on Twitter and Instagram under this handle:

@tomfoolery444

I’ve got a really Big announcement to make tomorrow.  I’ve been toiling away on a new project and I’m almost at a loss for Words.  If only there were a Video clip I could quick-link to explain said project…

Check back with me tomorrow.  Onward and upward, gang.

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