Archive for the ‘essays’ Category

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Travesty & Mockery iBooks/Pulp 716 next Saturday!

November 4, 2016

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I figured it was time to join the ebook revolution.  While studies have shown that a lot of readers are switching back to print books, I personally prefer to read digitally.  It takes up less shelf space and the books are cheaper.  In addition to designing the layout and interior for the print copy of Travesty, Bill Dyson quietly worked on the ebook editions for both Travesty and it’s predecessor, Mockery.  You can find them both for $9.99 and $6.99 (respectively) right HERE:

Travesty

Mockery

And finally, I’ll be signing books next Saturday afternoon, November 12th at Pulp 716 in Lockport along with cover artist and pal Mark McElligott.  Due to old age and other obligations, I won’t be promoting Travesty as actively as I used to, so this may be your only chance to get a signed copy of it before spring.  I hope to see you there!

Sincerely,

Tom

 

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Travesty Now Available!

August 19, 2016

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I’m pleased to announce that Travesty, my 12th book, has been released!  After five years of writing it on and off (before and after Icarus On The Mend, my limited print run memoir), proofreading, polishing and then collaborating with Mark McElligott on the wraparound cover art as well as graphic designer Bill Dyson on the interior, fonts and book design, Travesty is live and ready for purchase.  You can buy the book direct from lulu.com HERE:

Travesty

There’s also a permanent Quick Link on this site’s ‘Link Section’ for return visitors.  For reasons having mostly to do with my work schedule, I will not be actively promoting the book until late October, so you can buy BEFORE the official launch on lulu. Amazon.com, B&N.com and other fine retailers in the mean time.

This book was a direct sequel to my 2011 humor collection Mockery, so if you enjoyed it, you can get more of what you loved here.  Every book evolves in some unpredictable way while I’m working on it, and this one went from my trademark psychotic rage-based rants into more of a throwback silliness that I had when I initially started writing in my teens.  It’s also the first collection that was laid out according to theme instead of a chronological table of contents.  Three essays were cut, the proofreading process was rigorous and the final edition underwent a font size expansion for those of us who don’t like to squint.  I’m very proud of it, and McElligott and Dyson both did a terrific job with the small suggestions and concepts I bounced off of them.

In addition, this is the first Doubt It Publishing title to be launched with it’s own ISBN number.  That may not mean much to you, but that’s a serious sea change in the way I’m doing business and the way the book is distributed.  At 40 years old with 12 books behind me, I’ve started making an effort to preserve what I have while planning for the future.  Travesty is not my final book, but I’m taking a break before I chart a new course.  I hope you enjoy it.  This won’t be the last time you hear about it.  Please help spread the word by Sharing the link on your social media, ‘Like’ the book on Facebook,  List the book if you’re a Goodreads member and by all means, tell all your friends!

Sincerely,

Tom

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Travesty Inbound!

July 20, 2016

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Hey all!

After five years of working on the book on and off, rigorous rewrites, edits and scrubbing for typos, #Travesty, my eleventh book of humor, is almost ready!  It clocks in at a respectable 204 pages and it’s going to retail at $19.99.  Above, you’ll see the gorgeous wraparound cover with art by Mark McElligott and fonts William Dyson II.  I’m really excited about this book.  I’ve put a lot of myself into this book.  I can’t wait to share it with all of you, but not yet.  It’ll be ready this fall from Doubt It Publishing!

Stay Tuned,

Tom

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Wardrobe Malfunction

May 2, 2016

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Author’s Note:  The good news is that the rough manuscript for my next book Travesty is finally complete.  The downside to is that I’m completely exhausted, so I didn’t write anything new this month.  As a result of that, I’m re-running this popular rant about my lack of fashion sense.  It originally ran on BuffaloComedy.com in early 2015.  Enjoy!-Tom 

I have never been mistaken for a peacock.

My fashion sense makes no sense whatsoever. Throughout my life I’ve been clueless as to what’s hip, what’s sensible or even what’s practical where my wardrobe is concerned. I got off to a very rough start. Early childhood photos feature our hero wearing hand-me-down plaid bellbottoms (long after they were trendy and before they made a comeback), soccer jerseys (which, if memory serves, I only played soccer for a week until a girl kicked me in the shins and I discovered a lifelong disgust for orange rinds) and a candid middle school church play photo where I’m wearing loud orange dress pants with a rayon/polyester flannel. All of these pictures have been destroyed so that no boy ever makes the same mistakes that I’ve made. In 40 years, my dress style has improved at more of a slight geological pace.

Our grammar school Phys Ed coach nicknamed me ‘Tommy Shoelaces’ because I could never be bothered to tie my shoes. There’s a rare First Communion photo with a light gray dress coat and elbow patches, for godsakes. In high school, I accidentally bought a woman’s trench coat from Burlington Coat Factory and wore it for months before somebody pointed it out to me. I didn’t wear jeans until I was about 26 because I thought it was a sign of conformity and now they’re almost all I’ll wear. They’re easy, comfortable and hold up in hardworking environments.

The story goes that Einstein had five identical suits because it saved him from wasting valuable problem-solving when it came time to pick out an ensemble every day. I have also never been mistaken for Einstein. Tim Burton always wears black because it’s an easier wardrobe choice. This hasn’t helped his directing choices as of late. Most men are inherently too lazy to bother figuring out what they want to wear every day. This is a running theme.

It was brought to my attention just this year that turtlenecks are not cool, that they’ve never been cool and that no man should be caught dead wearing them. I never received this alert when it originally aired. What’s wrong with turtlenecks? They worked for Steve Jobs! An entire generation of beatnicks ran with them and they did okay. All of a sudden some fifty years later they’re not ‘hep’ anymore? That’s the problem with fashion trends: they’re so fleeting. I can’t keep up even if I tried or paid attention.

On a sunny day a month ago I notice that a lot of men were wearing soft, almost effeminate pastel plaid short sleeve shirts. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing one of those. It seems to me like there’s an upper echelon of pretty men who are on the crest of what’s in and what’s out and then there are the great majority of middle-aged men who just grab whatever passes for the new style that happens to come off the rack at Target or J.C. Penney’s. I literally just figured out in January that a ‘Moto’ leather jacket was short for ‘Motorcycle’, which explains why the cuffs are shorter. Perhaps someone pointed that out to me, too.

The women in my life are either very tolerant, love me anyway (with the exception of my ex-wife) or they’re content to make small, subtle suggestions as to what I should or could wear. Or they just assume that I’m stubborn, resistant to change and generally cantankerous. They’re right on all counts. The bulk of my closet (which could never be remotely misconstrued as resembling a wardrobe) consists of free videogame vendor t shirts from a prior job, bizarre impulse purchases from high school that I don’t even fit into anymore but tell myself I may fit into again some day, a few eclectic sweaters that would have made great stand-ins on ‘The Cosby Show’ and comic book themed shirts riddled with cigarette burns from my part time job at a comic shop that’s been closed for at least two years. So to summarize, if you took a cursory glance at my shirts and pants you’d assume that I’ve never gotten laid, will never get laid, and have no plans to get laid even by accident.

Some people want to stamp out world hunger and others aspire to a Pulitzer, but it’s my lifelong dream to have a tailored suit sculpted to my hairless and misproportionate gorilla-like-carriage that I can wear for all of the weddings and funerals that I don’t get invited to. A year and a half ago I stumbled onto a really comfortable $8 cotton shirt. I bought four of them in four different colors. There’s a cargo shorts drawer that’s more of a graveyard for shorts that are destroyed as well as jean shorts, which no one has ever deemed to be in season for any season that occurs on this planet. It would take me three or four incarnations just to be looked down upon by a metrosexual, and I guess I’m okay with that. It’s easier to accept that you have no clue how to dress than to try really hard and fail miserably. Are feather boas coming back around? That’s okay, I don’t have any yet anyway.

I can pull off capri pants, right?
Tom Waters

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Discourse Correction

April 4, 2016

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“When I have nothing to say my lips are sealed.

Say something once, why say it again?”

-The Talking Heads, ‘Psycho Killer’

Talk doesn’t have to be cheap. One of my bugaboos is meaningless small talk. I would rather wait out a long, uncomfortable silence than fill the void with inane chatter that accomplishes nothing and fails to further conversation. In my line of work, it’s referred to as an ‘ice breaker’, but during the rest of my waking life, I’d vastly prefer a dead vacuum of words instead of offering up nonsense.

It’s been said that you should never talk about politics, religion or the weather. I don’t remember if that was in reference to sales, getting your hair cut, foreplay or simply polite discussion between strangers, but nobody abides by that rule. People who talk about the weather make me fucking nuts. In Buffalo, debate and dissent regarding the weather is a living, breathing, malleable organism, and everyone has a talent for locking and passing along the most far-fetched, fantastical forecast. Given a range of light flurries or the next ice age, your average horse’s ass will throw out ‘Fred The Weather Clown is calling for a meteor the size of Brazil made of solid black ice followed by a flurry of dippable Dots.’ Out of a hundred predictions, average temperatures and year-over-year norms, it’s never a middle-of-the-road prediction. Maybe that says more about the dolts who drudge it up to perfect strangers, maybe not: ‘Team Hurricane 3000 claims an 84% chance of Armageddon preceded by lakes of fire and spotting in women aged 55 to 60.’ It must be Biblical fact then.

Sports fans make the rather large assumption that you also like talking about sportsing. I don’t. My friend Rich plays into this and seems to think he can reach a common ground with people and find out more about their thinking process by knowing about sports and talking with his friends about it. I’m not willing to go that far. I really don’t understand the return on investment sitting on my ass on the couch for entire Sundays yelling at the television. There is enough in my life to upset me without transferring my ambitions and personal happiness onto a corporately held entity parading as a franchise. What I really don’t get is people droning on about sportsing out in public while their sport of choice is currently in progress. If it was important to you, wouldn’t you be at home having a discussion with your television while it was airing?

And religion is a non-issue. Most sane people don’t engage, foster or bring up religion with strangers. Most of us are spiritual and not religious, whatever that means. A great many of us sacrifice live bait to our Aztec snake gods naked during a blood moon while coated in Hershey syrup in a very private and personal way, so we don’t feel the need to bring it up or indoctrinate others. The people who bring up religion as an ‘ice breaker’ are typically the people I run screaming from. I have nothing against religion since it’s never done anything grievous or humiliating to me, but I have no interest in discussing it with people outside of my role-playing, Safe-Word-uttering coven. The less said the better.

If anything, politics are offered up without any solicitation, urging or insistence, and the people who normally inject it into the atmosphere are also the people with the most militant, half-cooked, far left or far right of center viewpoints anyway. I’m surprised at the political non sequiturs I hear without any forewarning or lubricant. Things like “All my taxes go to Albany, thanks very much, Mr. Governor!” from the affluent upper-class doctor or “It’d be great to own a small business if it weren’t for Ralph Nader.” from the guy with 45 bumper stickers and a man bun. I try not to engage or encourage these kinds of people because their jumbled calls to arms can only invariably be followed by rampant bigotry, generalized silliness or unfounded carpetbaggery or skullduggery.

*Confession: I’ve wanted to include both the terms ‘carpetbaggery’ and ‘skullduggery’ into an essay and felt that this was my best shot. I hope that some day you will grow to accept and embrace my decision.*

Finally, there is what passes for what’s left of the Monday morning water cooler discussion. A great majority of us don’t have the indulgence of a water cooler at our place of business, haven’t personally seen a water cooler in 2.5 years, and have never had a discussion as a result of being in the vicinity of a water cooler. Now that we live in a hip, post-‘cut the cable’ revolution era where there are 7,000 different stations, streaming services, Viewmaster Exclusive one hour puppet passion plays and other programs, we’re at a loss for a universally shared experience.

If it’s a reality show or a talent competition, my emotional investment is -7 multiplied by zero fucks, carried by I Really Don’t Give A Shit. Whatever that adds up to, that’s where I stand on either program. I don’t need to know which industry darling won the finals at the Polynesian Breakdancing Awards or who took home the gold on ‘Bosnia’s Got Marginal Saucier Skills’. The point is that there are more shows than there are people now, so whatever you watched or downloaded or uploaded into your retinas last night that was exciting isn’t necessarily a show that anyone else on your continent tunes into.

I understand that it’s difficult to find common ground with complete strangers in everyday life, but I would rather be myself or dive right into the meat of a conversation than default to small talk because it’s easier. The weather doesn’t matter to me, I’m not hardwired for sports, religion is a landmine and a lot of people have horrible taste in television. I guess you could call me a real people pleaser.

Tom Waters

 

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Bat To The Future

March 21, 2016

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Author’s Note: With BuffaloComedy.com having gone the way of the dodo (where this piece originally appeared in January of 2015) and Batman Vs. Superman just 5 agonizing days away from its theatrical release (which I’m not laying any bets on until I see it), I  thought now might be a good time to revisit my reflections on the 75th Anniversary Year of the Dark Knight Detective.  This is an essay from the upcoming book Travesty.   

By the time you read this, the year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics (in 1939, for those of you who don’t have a calculator nearby) will have come and gone. He’s a character who has endured the test of time, and you may know Detective Comics by their abbreviation: DC. I caught hell some years ago for defending the cultural importance of the impending theatrical release of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008). It was a week-long troll battle in a lesser publication and I hate to be the guy who said I told you so, but I was right, Buffalo. That film changed the superhero film forever and demolished most (if not all) box office records. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. What follows is a personal recollection/celebration of the mythos. Dates and citations have been left out, messed up or guessed at because the author is lazy.

I’ve been a Batman fan almost all of my life. As a child, I got into the comics around the same time that I caught the syndicated reruns for the high-camp television version with Adam West, three separate Catwomen and the famed ‘Bat-usi’. This led of course to Batman:The Movie, which we have to thank for the ‘Bat Shark Repellant Spray’ incident. The utility belt can only hold so much. The Caped Crusader has gone through a lot of incarnations over the decades he’s traveled through, which may be one of the secrets behind his staying power. While it was corny and cheesy (‘camp’ is an ironic form of comedy that borders on being an endangered species), the tv series hit home for at least a few seasons.

The ’80s was a great time to get into comics since the medium was growing up in terms of maturity and readership. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns made such a gritty impact on the pulp multiverse that college courses are still taught dissecting its importance. The story zeroes in on Batman coming out of retirement in order to stomp out the threat of a mutant gang, subvert government opposition to superheroes and to square off with Superman. Miller followed this up with Batman: Year One, a mini-series that focused on the roots of billionaire Bruce Wayne’s lifelong war on crime.

Toward the end of the decade, comic icon Alan Moore applied his craft to The Killing Joke, a one-shot story where the reader is taken through a retelling of The Joker’s origin, Commissioner Gordon’s daughter is crippled by same, the Commissioner’s sanity is tried by The Joker and Batman’s is questioned at the close of the arc with a punchline and a recurring pattern of raindrops. The Joker postulates throughout the book that the difference between sanity and insanity is just one bad day. Batman tries to prove him wrong.

In the early ’90s, mainstay Grant Morrison took a turn with Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth. I re-read this book almost every year and always come away with something new in this layered psychological examination of the aberrant psyche. Batman infiltrates the asylum (which the inmates have taken control of spear-headed by the Joker) and tries to keep his head while everyone else’s is long gone. This is interspersed with the story of how Arkham Asylum came to be, which is quite haunting to say the least.

Meanwhile, in the single issues, there was the groundbreaking A Death In The Family, a story arc that was revolutionary because DC set up 1-800 lines so that readers could vote on the fate of Robin at the hands of (you guessed it) The Joker. For you younger readers, people used to have phones in their house attached to the walls that we called ‘Land Lines’. A 1-800 number was a ‘toll free’ number that residents could ‘dial’ on said Land Lines. Spoiler alert (not sure if it’s a spoiler alert twenty five years later): the readers killed off Robin. Luckily, nobody ever stays dead in comics for some reason, and that particular Boy Wonder (there have been around four) came back in Under The Red Hood.

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Dante’s Double

March 1, 2016

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You could fill Lake Erie with the amount of hot sauce I’ve ingested.

Nothing would live, grow or thrive there, so basically, it would be the same lake. I’ve been eating chicken wings at least once a week since I was around 17. Technically, chicken fingers were my gateway poultry. My buddy Ron and I got together every week to play video games and we commemorated the event with chicken fingers. And hot sauce. When I got my first apartment, I got my first fryer. Shortly thereafter, I gained about 40 pounds. Studies show that those two events were interconnected somehow. With no self control and the understanding that I was too lazy to deal with the mess of making wings at home, a new tradition was born: wings once a week. This is the point where I could say ‘A hero is born.’ or ‘This is the stuff of legend.’, but my artistic license expired yesterday. It’s best in this situation to borrow from the poorly named 1980’s Fred Ward star vehicle Remo Williams and go with ‘The Adventure Begins’. Cinephile Note: The adventure began and ended with that horrible movie. Let’s get back to the wings…

There are a lot of things that Buffalonians lay claim to: losing at football, losing at hockey on a technicality, losing on ‘Best Places To Live’…you get the picture. Chicken wings really did originate in Buffalo though, at the famous Anchor Bar in the city. Chicken wings happen to be the one thing about Buffalo I embrace. In the rest of the country they travel under the nom de plume of ‘Party Wings’ (makes sense), ‘Hot Wings’ (I like to use that one because it drives my boss into a fit of rage) and yes, ‘Buffalo Wings’. Hot Tip: If they’re listed as ‘Buffalo Wings’ on a menu, you’re probably at a chain restaurant that doesn’t have the faintest idea how to make chicken wings and you’ll end up with a soggy, buttery embarrassment in a plastic basket. ‘Buttery Embarrassment’ also happens to be how I refer to the loss of my virginity. Chicken wings are deceptively simple in their execution. Cook until crispy, douse in hot sauce with a fire hose and mix with butter for those with indigestion.

Around here, the base hot sauce is Frank’s Red Hot. I was not paid for that endorsement, but would like to be. Most places use Frank’s. In the rest of the country I’ve seen diners that give you a 2 oz. shooter of Tabasco for 30 chicken wings (I’m not sure how that would even work), Sriracha (which I’ve never had but would like to try) along the southern border and a lot of sad kitchen-made pastes that were more ketchup than anything else. Spoiler Alert: Ketchup does not resemble hot sauce in any way, shape and especially not form. My palate is so accustomed to Frank’s Red Hot that I’ve gone off in search of other strains of sauce. As a hot sauce enthusiast, you build up a tolerance to heat over time. Useful Factoid: A unit of heat with peppers is measured in ‘Scovilles’, whichb were named after the inventor of the system.

Unlike the rest of my family, I have the constitution of a billy goat. My older brother gets an upset stomach after oatmeal and my younger brother chews on Tums like they’re Tic Tacs. I was not paid for either of those endorsements, but would begrudgingly accept payment in the form of check, money order or chicken wings. By the time I was 25 or so, I’d worked my way up from Medium wings (half butter, half hot sauce) to hot wings (all hot sauce) to more explosive options. Sauces that incorporated jalepeno peppers (they deliver that extra mule kick to your mouth at the end of every bite) habanero peppers (which add a very distinct flavor to the sauce while incinerating your insides) and eventually, ghost peppers. Ghost peppers are no joke. On the Scoville scale, ghost peppers reside somewhere in the vicinity of Dante’s final circle of hell, if that circle included screaming, crying and praying on the toilet all at the same time.

Many argue that the hotter wings that are available aren’t enjoyable. While there is a small subsection of guys who feel the need to prove their masculinity by devouring wings they normally can’t handle, often can’t handle during their demonstration, and definitely won’t handle ever again without a medical staff on standby, some of us have worked our way up to it. Crying is a factor. It’s more of a chemical reaction than an emotional catharsis. It also takes place if you happen to wipe your eyes with the same napkin you used to wipe your sauce-spotted hands with. Or if you don’t wash your hands and scratch your eye hours later. Don’t do this with ghost peppers. Ghost pepper sauces will make you their bitch. Plain and simple.

I hate to say it, but I may have reached an age where I have to start traveling down the heat index. My endurance with the hotter sauces may have reached its apex. For every cause there is an effect. That, and I can’t imagine carrying an IV of blue cheese around with a stainless steel diaper when I’m 50. It’s time to put on the brakes a bit. Blue cheese is for punks. It’s an easy way out of the heat that serves to mask or neutralize it. Milk neutralizes the pain, too. I prefer soda. My Buffalo brethren insist it is called pop. They’re wrong. That’s neither here nor there, though. I like a nice cold glass of Diet Dr. Pepper with my wings. I was not paid or coerced by the good people at the Diet Dr. Pepper bottling plant, but would feign refusal and quickly accept large monetary gifts in the form of gold doubloons or solid ingots stacked in a triangular fashion.

Nowadays, I order a double (20) of wings every Thursday because you get a price break per wing at 20 and I can always finish them off for an additional meal time. The additional meal time may take place before I get up from the table the first time. There’s a great debate between drums (drumsticks) or flats (the actual wings) with solid arguments for both. Drums are easy to eat in public and they tend to crisp up better if you prefer yours crispy. I’m a flats man. My dad was a flats man and his father before him. We’re flats people. Honestly though, I like flats because they’re more tender, they soak up more sauce, they taste better on the reheat and they don’t have as much gristle as the drums. Believe me, I’ve done the research.

By a stroke of luck (and the one good genetic card dealt to me), my severe height has cancelled out any blood pressure issues that might accompany someone who eats a double of wings every week. It’s right on par. If I were a superhero, that would be my super power: Slightly Average Blood Pressure. Villains everywhere would tremble at the sight of my triage. I’ve been training for this all my life. Now I just need an outfit that’s stain resistant to the corrosive concoctions I crave.

Fired up,
Tom Waters

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Reg’s Retirement Plan: Elton John In His ’60s

February 12, 2016
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Photo Credit: The Guardian

Author’s Note: I desperately wanted to keep writing and researching this piece, but I’ve never missed a deadline, even if it was self-imposed.  There were a lot of other avenues I could have gone down, but decided to polish it off and send it off into cyberspace on time.  And I would like to blame WordPress’ style difficulty for the lack of italicizing for album titles, etc.  A longer version will most likely end up in my next book Travesty.  I hope you like it! -Tom

Any fanatic will tell you about the law of diminishing returns. Elton John fans are no exception. After hearing the classic songs, the classic albums and the go-to ballads for lazy radio DJs, we get burnt out. I could happily go the rest of my life without hearing either version of ‘Candle In The Wind’, but as a completionist, I own the 40th Anniversary Edition boxed set for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (with the original track, remastered), the quickly rushed post-Diana B-Side ‘Goodbye England’s Rose’ (the A Side was ‘Something About The Way You Look Tonight’ from the Big Picture album), the moving version mere days before throat surgery from Live In Australia, and every live album and DVD wherein Elton has trotted the ballad back out. During a vicious feud with The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, Keith told an interviewer that Elton made his career and his fortune from ‘dead blondes’. Hardly true, but it’s another factoid floating around in my head from my years as a faithful fan.

The point is that any fanatic is hungry for new material or a different spin on the greats, whether it’s a new studio release that’s just so-so, a just-because live album or the opening of some metaphorical vault full of master tapes, alternate tracks and raw cuts. I’ve heard ‘Your Song’, ‘Bennie And The Jets’, ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ (the radio has made me hate it) and the dreaded ‘Candle In The Wind’ almost as many times as Elton has performed them, which is why I don’t listen to them that often. So when there’s a new addition to the discography, I greet it with open arms. I run the album into the ground on repeat in my car, scour the internet for videos (since that’s where they premier now) and troll for print interviews from the latest junket. I’ll say this much: for two guys who are a whisper away from 70, Elton and Taupin are still giving 100%. Is it is good as their first wave of success from ’69-’74 when they were churning out two albums a year for their contractual obligations with Dick James? It’s not a fair comparison.

Despite all the coke and the casual hook-ups from the ‘80s and his Never-Ending Shopping Spree, Elton might bury us all. With sobriety, a steady tennis regimen and a quadruple bypass he’s still going strong. Thank God. We’re lucky to have him. It’s incredible to ponder that little Reginald Kenneth Dwight started out playing saloon songs in corner taverns when he was 15 and he’ll still be pounding the ivories this March when he turns 69. He’s had more Top 40 hits than Elvis Presley, he’s been knighted (which used to be reserved for the rare elite and not just every other British musician over 50) He won an Academy Award as well as a Grammy for Album Of The Year for The Lion King. His musical Billy Elliot has been in production for over a decade. He’s outlasted almost all of the artists from his era and shattered so many records that he’s become peerless. He’s been called a living legend and a national treasure, but to most he’s known as the ‘Rocket Man’. Once he broke his habit of staying on the Billboard Charts (or once they stopped being relevant in the wake of the music industry imploding as a result of iTunes), his new releases tapered off to a trickle. He reached a stage as an artist where he took his time to make sure each album was what he wanted before he put it out. Let’s look at the last ten years.

Elton and Vegas were bound to find each other. It just makes sense that Elton would sign a 3 year deal with Ceasar’s Palace in so that nations of adoring fans could find him instead of touring around from ‘the end of the world to your town’ (‘Captain Fantastic’). The first show took place in February, 2004. 3 years came and went and kept on going. In addition to limited-city world tours by himself and a tour with Billy Joel in between, The Red Piano revue in Vegas morphed into The Million Dollar Piano in 2011. It was filmed and re-marketed as a concert film with the usual lineup of popular hits. Surprisingly, a long-playing gem from Caribou (‘Indian Sunset’) was included on the main concert film. A bonus concert covered some songs that were off the beaten path.

Why don’t we call Elton John and Leon Russell’s The Union (2010) what it was: the resurrection of Leon Russell figuratively and literally. It was also Elton’s attempt of ‘having to go back to go forward’. The album got off to a very bumpy start. According to interviews with John and Russell while they were promoting its release, Elton tried to farm the idea out to occasional touring mate Billy Joel. While his boyfriend David was cycling through his iPod on vacation, Elton was moved to tears when he heard Leon Russell, who was an even bigger star than Elton when they met during John’s big U.S. week-long debut at L.A.’s Troubadour back in 1969. Few pop stars share Elton’s enduring popularity, and Russell faded away from the spotlight into obscurity.
Billy Joel wasn’t interested in the project. I remember a plum line from Joel with USA Today where he claimed that Elton told him he should put out more albums, while Joel told him he should put out less. For those who remember, Joel announced his retirement from songwriting on his final studio album River Of Dreams (1993). I get into this argument often, but I have more respect for Elton because he keeps composing, recording, performing and aiming for new heights instead of giving up and cashing in when his coffers get light. That, and I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion that Joel’s lyrics and subject matter aimed squarely and deliberately at the heart (and purse) strings and struggles of the blue collar working class whereas the bulk of John & Taupin’s songs are decidedly more cerebral, poetic and classically centered. But I digress.

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The Divine Pop Comedy

February 8, 2016

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Author’s Note: With the release of Wonderful Crazy Night (Elton and Taupin’s 33rd album), this seemed like a good time to revise and post this excerpt about the ‘aught’ albums from ‘Reg Soldiers On’, a 50+ page long-form essay about Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s lives, careers and their discography from my 2009 book Slapstick & Superego.  I’ll be posting a new essay this Friday about the three studio albums that followed once I’ve had a little time to digest the newest release.-Tom

Composer/Performer/Legend Elton John and longtime lyricist and classical poet Bernie Taupin’s trio of studio albums from 2001-2006 were a fruitful, fascinating journey, and I’m sure that there’s more to come. From a fanatic’s standpoint, Songs From The West Coast would have made a perfect swan song for the performer. I don’t regret that he’s lived and recorded since, but the album is so perfect, and so close to the roots of Elton’s glory days in the ’70s that it’s near-impossible to trump a second time in his career.

Elton even claimed in his classic bridge-burning interview style that this would be his final studio album. Listening to the tracks, it’s no surprise that this was the first series of songs in ages where Elton and Taupin composed the album together in person. It brilliantly refers back to the roots of his success while avoiding all references to such. ’Emperor’s New Clothes’ (a Billy Joel homage), ’Dark Diamond’ (with Stevie Wonder on harmonica), the sublimely simple and existential ’Birds’, and the retrospective yet hopeful ’This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore’ stand out as hallmarks to the late musician’s career. Taupin draws from a reserve of inspired lyrics for this album with stunning skill, and drives it home with ’Original Sin’ and ’I Want Love’, a song that shows us the team is still capable of sucker punching us into a state of romantic catharsis: /A man like me is dead in places/Other men feel liberated/I want love on my own terms/After everything I‘ve ever learned/.

Elton’s boyfriend future husband David Furnish was photographed for the album cover as the cowboy. Director of Operations Bob Halley was captured for the shoot as the man being handcuffed to a squad car outside of the diner. This series of videos was nothing short of astonishing, with Robert Downey Jr. lip synching Elton’s vocals to ‘I Want Love’ to Justin Timberlake portraying an uncanny ‘70s Elton in ‘This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore’ to Liz Taylor and Mandy Moore showcasing the video to ‘Original Sin’. With a small handful of duds, it’s a shame that ‘West Coast’ came out a week before September 11th, 2001 in the States. It could and should have fared much better on the charts if it wasn’t for the deep psychic and socioeconomic impact of the terrorist attacks.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Breath Of A Salesman

February 1, 2016

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One of the first things I learned about fine-tuning my pitch was a little trick called ‘clearing the mechanism’. No matter what I’m in the middle of when an Up (my turn on the sales rotation) comes in to look at *Widgets*, I’m trained to take a step back, clear my head and check my breath before I give a couple or a One-Legger (husband or wife flying solo without their significant other) my undivided and complete attention. Let’s face it: Nobody wants to buy anything from someone who smells like they stumbled into a garlic clove patch for lunch, stuffed an entire can of spinach between their teeth or a salesman with pretzels and coffee breath issuing from their word-hole. I take a moment, focus on the journey we’re about to embark upon together and roll into it.

Paunch is a dead giveaway for a good salesman. I’ve met a few energetic, wiry, skinny types, but on the whole, you can spot a top earner by the love handles spilling over his belt. A guy who’s a top performer is also a guy who’s putting food on the table, eating well, or splurging his Spiffs (cash incentives for upselling) on fancy dinners out. The gut also has a lot to do with avoiding real work. Born salesmen are noticeably absent when manual labor is going down, electing instead to follow up on Leads, Prospect a fresh Up, ride a desk, smoke a cigarette, decide to get lunch or play with their phones. While I don’t own a smart phone, I still know how to play Scrabble, troll *Social Media* and check the weather. Go figure.

I never thought I’d wind up in sales. Some children can tell you by grade school that they want to grow up to be a lawyer, a fireman or a claims adjuster for a multinational corporation. Those kids were boring then and I find them boring now. At last count, I’ve had 38 jobs. Maybe not that many, but I’ve got a desk drawer full of name tags, personal business cards for companies and stores that don’t even exist anymore, lanyards and other assorted company memorabilia that hold no resale value except as mementos of associate positions and career paths that have been derailed, stunted or emergency ejected. If you take a cursory glance at my resume from five years ago, you’d find that I have a strong background in management, customer service and retail. I’m surprisingly happy, fulfilled and neither pressured nor coerced to admit that I’m good at it. We’ve all had jobs that we suck at where we drag our feet in every morning, count the minutes, keep our heads down and do our best to barrel through it. At least I have. This job isn’t that for me.

Salesmen get a bad rap. Most people conjure up a stereotypical used car salesman in their heads: Insincere, cheesy, and sleazy. I am none of those things. While I have a great fondness for cheese (especially ALL the Jacks), it has never rendered me cheesy. When I’m deep into a pitch selling *Widgets*, I try to find the warm, fuzzy place in my heart where Empathy resides. When I’m at the top of my game, it’s because I found that sweet spot. I wear my heart on my sleeve, which is shocking considering that I’m such a sarcastic asshole the other 98% of the time that I’m awake. From what I’ve gathered, all of us save the very best of ourselves for that window of opportunity when we’re making money based on our personality. It’s the nature of the beast.

Developing a pitch is like crafting your own lightsaber or finding your own spirit animal, take your pick. It’s a fine-tuned dress rehearsal tailor-made to the customer you’re dealing with and spun from your best attributes. For me, it’s equal parts empathy, customer service, humor (naturally), informal interview, body language and honing my listening skills. Hearing what people are saying and giving them ample time to talk are easier said than done. We’re conditioned to run our mouths and take what we hear on the surface, so it’s taken some time to be more considerate and to keep my word-hole shut. People love to talk about themselves, so in a lot of scenarios, just letting a couple or a person open up and actually listening when they do will seal the deal.

We all follow a Process where I work. I’m not going to tell you what that process is. There are blood oaths involved, animal sacrifice, full moons…just kidding. I’m just not going to reveal the mystery. My best analogy is that our Process is similar to a classic symphony. We all have to hit on the same notes, but the way that we play them and the inflections we give them are our own. Ego gets in the way once in awhile, and when that happens, I typically start to misfire. Whenever I think that my way is better I start tanking, and it takes a painful reappraisal of what I’m doing wrong to get back to the basics. Admitting that I don’t know everything and that my style or my opinion can sometimes be wrong. This is earth-shattering stuff to accept if you’re an old dog who’s reluctant to new tricks.

We are an impulsive, flashy and cynical lot. My boss collects watches. Another boss plays tennis and skis like there’s an Olympic medal at stake. I collect dress shirts, computers, movies, essentially anything pop culture that isn’t nailed down when my commissions come in. Most of the salesmen I work with treat golfing like it’s a religion. Golfing’s not for me. Like most sports, it takes too much time, there’s too much open exposure to the sun, I’m not a patient man, and as an Irishman, I’m a sore loser. And a sore winner.

I could pen a motivational manual about our cynicism. ‘Buyers are liars’ is a common mantra in sales. People will say whatever they can to get out of a closing scenario and skate out to ‘think things over’, ‘talk to the wife’ or ‘sleep on it’. All of those excuses are bullshit. I’ve learned to look for the real reason behind the Stall and dig for an honest answer. If an Up walks out the door, I’m trained to react emotionally as if they aren’t coming back. Let it go and move on to the next one.

One of my favorite lines out of all the training sessions, webinars and philosophical tracts I’ve attended, watched and read is this: Life is interesting, so be interested. I couldn’t agree more. The people I meet and talk to come from all different walks of life. They all have their own families, stories, hopes, dreams and aspirations. Like I said, when I’m deep into a pitch and really nailing it, it’s when I’m diving into who people are and what makes them tick. Following up on what they’ve told me and finding out more. And it always helps to pop an Altoid after we’ve all had fried blooming onions. You may not know this, but they’re curiously strong.

Second prize is a set of steak knives,

Tom Waters

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Creature Of Habit

January 4, 2016

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‘I’m still waiting on my Fruity Pebbles.’

This is not a sequence of words in the English language that any grown man should ever say to another human being. Hearing that line at an e-cigarette purveyor made me seriously reconsider the overall manliness of the guy who uttered the line, my own masculinity, and the choices behind my decision to join the e-cigarette demographic. Vapers at large are a douchey and superstitious lot. I have a serious issue identifying or comparing myself with them.

They fall into the same camp that subscribes to unemployable and scary homeless derelict beards and their accompanying beard oils, effeminate pastel flannels which I am also not a fan of, and sturdy combat/work boots worn by those who will never see combat or gainful employment. The term ‘e-juice’ is also a phrase that I’m uncomfortable with. It sounds disgusting. And the hundreds of different flavors are often embarrassing to say aloud. Pink Kiwi Dildo, Green Tea-Bag and Root Beer Ball Sac spring to mind. I’m a creature of habit (clearly), so I stick with Peanut Butter Cup (not exactly an affirmation of my Man Card) during the day and Cuban Cigar at night.

Over a year ago I decided to quit smoking because I couldn’t bear the thought of dressing my son up and taking him outside during the winter to feed the monkey. That was my line in the sand, and I felt like I’d be the worst father in the universe if I did that. It was not a conscious choice to avoid cancer or take better care of myself. After smoking between a pack a day to two packs for the better part of twenty five years, I gave it up because I was unwilling to make my boy an unwitting accomplice to my habit.

Little did I know that to many people, it’s a lifestyle. There are accessories, a level of mechanical aptitude for advanced e-cigarette smokers (rigs, mods, and erector set bongs), and a practiced and self-entitled pretentious sense of cool that accompanies blowing billowing clouds of mist into the atmosphere. When I was a kid, most corner stores had candy cigarettes for kids. They were bubble gum sticks packaged to look like cigarettes that let off puffs of powdered sugar when you blew on them. It was a great way to teach kids how to smoke before they were allowed to smoke. Looking back, I can’t believe that something like that would make it past the marketing phase, but they were different times.

Cigarette smoking (and e-cigarette smoking, by extension) aren’t any more sophisticated, cool, hip or European than the candy cigarettes were. We’re all blowing cancerous candy clouds of smoke. When I see a kid crossing the street with a tricked out brick contraption billowing great goddamned plumes of vapor, it doesn’t look terribly cool to me. I won’t argue for or against electronic cigarettes, but the logic behind it makes sense to me. Rather than ingesting a few thousand poisons, I’m taking in the one that counts: nicotine. The devil I just met is better than the devil I know.

When I initially went into a shop and made my first point of contact, my only request was for something small. Size doesn’t matter to me, and it didn’t seem practical to put my mouth around some monstrous metallic cock in public. I don’t understand how we live in a post-Industrial culture that can cram a computer into a wristwatch, but the technology hasn’t come far enough along to create a nicotine dispersal unit that’s smaller than the candlestick in Colonel Mustard’s Den or a box of Cracker Jacks. Many devices are built to house a pair of batteries that would outlast five nuclear winters; I just wanted something small that would fit into my pocket and make it through a typical day. Three devices later, I found a rig without serious structural flaws that did just that.

Somehow I have more paraphernalia now than when I was a pothead. Instead of pipes, one-hitters, roach clips and rolling papers I have miniature e-cigs, medium rigs, small droppers, larger bottles, ‘wicks’ (which aren’t really wicks per se, but metallic cylinders or ‘atomizers’ that are referred to as wicks) and battery chargers. Every component, part and parcel has a ‘No Garbage Can’ logo on it, so the unused garbage may be as difficult to dispose of as uranium, old prescription drugs, guns, porn or E.T. cartridges. Not that I’m speaking from experience…moving on, then.

I know too many people who have tried to quit cigarettes cold turkey only to go back to it. There are more still who turn to e-cigarettes after decades of smoking thinking that they can step down and quit within a few weeks. I’m giving myself a few years to gradually wean myself off of nicotine. There are actually days when I forget that I have my device with me, or I realize that I haven’t puffed on it for a few hours, which is pretty incredible considering that I used to smoke every hour on the hour like clockwork. Unless I’m stressed, it’s often an afterthought. Or when I’m in the mood for the infused flavor blast of Pink Kiwi Dildo.

Vaping in the boy’s room,
Tom Waters

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‘Vantage’, an essay from the upcoming book Travesty

July 6, 2015

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I’m turning 40 this year and there’s nothing funny about that.

Here’s the secret, though; the whopping truism that you grapple with your entire life: No grown up has any fucking clue or handle on their life. No clue whatsoever. I grew up operating under the assumption that I’d reach an indeterminate adult age where everything made sense, where I got my life together and the rules of the universe just clicked into place. That will never happen because that scenario doesn’t exist. I will never ‘get it’, and I can’t even tell you what ‘it’ is because I don’t have it and am happily resigned to the fact that I’ll never get ‘it’. I just won’t. Nobody will, and that’s okay.

Now that I’m on the other end of it, I can report back that adults don’t have the market cornered on any profound wellspring of wisdom any more than children do. In some cases even less so. At the core of it, many of us are just scared little kids who have been too busy to work out issues or defects or personality flaws that we’ve carried for three decades. There is no doubt that I’m not much further along psychologically or developmentally than my 2 year old son and I’m probably not the only near-40 year old who can admit that.

Since birth, I’ve had the innate ability to look back by a year and marvel at how far I had my head up my ass. Through my powers of deduction and reasoning, I suspect that I will have that talent well into my old age. By that same logic, I presume that a year from now I’ll be able to look back and draw the conclusion that I had my head up my ass right now. I am a work in progress, and everything is relative.

The big relief (for me) is that I’ve lost my mind so many times in the last 39 years and now there is no grand finale during a phase of my life where all of my friends, peers and co-workers approaching or reaching the same age are obviously losing theirs. I’ve seen the fad beach/Atkins/all hot dog/no carbs/strictly watermelon and free range kale diet for the women looking to erase the irreparable damage that three kids and/or three decades of neglect will do to a woman’s body. I’ve seen the muscle car/motorcycle/sudden interest in guns/hunting and/or the outdoors that somehow reaffirm a man’s masculinity and sense of self after having it systematically stripped away from him due to an overbearing wife or an emasculating job.

Biologically my warranty ran out yesterday. Scientists claim that men reach their peak in terms of growth and sexuality around the age of 23 and I’m certainly not going to disagree with that. Testosterone levels wane, I have a bald spot that’s ideal for a yarmulke or Gregorian Chanting, my ear hair sprouts up like some nightmare Horn Of Plenty and I have to pick and choose how, when and if I’m going to incinerate what brain cells and neurological pathways I have left because they are now finite. As my father is fond of saying, I can’t do it like I used to. Most of my get up and go has gotten up and went. And a hundred other corny hackneyed sayings.

And those are really the only two flavors of mid-life crisis that I’ve seen. We’ve all already worked out most of our divorces or new career trajectories, our relocations, expatriations or major idealogical or spiritual tectonic shifts in our ’30s. Most of what I’ve seen has been more of a renunciation of the lives we’ve already lived; a flat rejection of everything we’ve worked for up until that point. I suppose my recovery falls under that heading, too. All of the crises already in progress have been obvious Mid Life Crises.
There’s the sense that I’m on a long journey and I’ve charted a new course halfway through. It’s probably that way for everyone. You have a clear sense of direction as you establish your identity along with your place in the world and all of a sudden you change your mind in a very contradictory fashion. I spent my 20’s flying by the seat of my pants, hopping into bed with any interested parties, writing for anyone who’d take me and developing a cynical sort of world-weariness. I was trying to be different…just like everyone else. I spent my ’30s trying to be a regular adult with a regular lifestyle grappling with where a square peg fit into a round world and what my obligation as a citizen was to that world.

Those last two decades went out the window recently. 40 is the soft reset, the reaffirmation of the values that propelled you this far that you forgot about or compromised your way out of. It’s the striking realization that you are going to die. I’m not invincible anymore and the glass is half empty now. I’ll leave the half full nonsense to the idealists. If I’m really lucky I’ve got another forty years to go. It’s time to work on making a bigger dent. With the magic of futuristic retrospect, I can assure you that I had my head up my ass when I said that.

     -Tom Waters (39) is the author of twelve books of humor, memoir and poetry. He’s written for The Buffalo News, Buffalo Spree, Night Life Magazine and quite a few other publications during his career. He’s also the host of Big Words I Know By Heart, a YouTube talk show that pushes the boundaries of the polite interview format. Waters lives in Clarence with his son Benjamin and his rescue cat Morris

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‘Aqua Vita’ goes live on BuffaloComedy.com

May 6, 2015

Aqua Vita

This was more of a traditional rant that just flew out onto the page when I was writing it.  After the small, silly controversy that ‘Cosmopolitan Cop Out’ caused last month on BuffaloComedy.com, I decided to follow up with a harmless, silly little ditty about a time-honored subject that I’ve covered dozens of times: dentistry.

Check out the new essay here:  Aqua Vita

Please give it a Read, give it a ‘Like’, ‘Favorite’, ‘Retweet’ or any other number of sharing and liking functionality on whichever social media you’re navigating at the time.

As part of a larger whole, Travesty is well on the way to completion as a book clocking in at around 170 pages.  The body of work that the book represents thus far is well-rounded, concise and should be a pretty damned entertaining read if I do say so myself.  I’m not going to put this book out until it’s just about perfect, but we’re on target for April of 2016.  It’s been a long wait for this book, but it’ll be worth it.

Talk to you soon.

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Clarence Sun Print Interview

April 15, 2015
Mockery by Tom Waters: An essay collection formatted to mimic a standup comedy act.

Mockery by Tom Waters: An essay collection formatted to mimic a standup comedy act.

Two weeks ago Clarence Sun Editor Alicia Greco interviewed yours truly for a feature interview leading up to my recent reading and book signing at Milkie’s On Elmwood.  Whelp, the interview ran on Saturday and the book event was a real hit at Milkie’s and I liked the venue so much that I booked it again in the fall!  To read Greco’s interview, just click on the pretty link:

You’ll find our interview on Page 2.  Kudos to Alicia for doing a great job of balancing information with revelation.

As for the reading, I have some video clips from the show that I’m working on, so you’ll see those soon.  Last week was a busy one so I’m playing catch up.  Talk to you soon!

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‘Cosmopolitan Cop Out’ appearing on BuffaloComedy.com!

April 6, 2015

Cosmopolitan Cop OutMy writing process is changing.  That, or I’m raising my expectations for what I demand from myself as a writer.  Between the challenge of writing new material and editor Kristy Rock’s criteria that all submissions remain positive, it’s been a new kind of endurance contest.  ‘Cosmopolitan Cop Out’ is a perfect example of this.  I actually started writing this essay from scratch….three different times.  I think another component of this is that I’ve written so many essays for so many years that I can picture about a thousand different directions, slants or angles to every theme before I start writing it.  Whatever the case may be, I’m pretty happy with the way ‘Cosmo’ turned out.  It’s a rumination on spending time in the ACTUAL city of Buffalo, along with a recognition that those of us in the suburbs identify with the city even though we don’t actually live in the city.  I’ll shut up and let you read it for yourself, though:

Cosmopolitan Cop Out

As per usual, kindly take an extra minute to ‘Like’, ‘Share’, ‘Retweet’, ‘+1’ or whatever the preferred mode is for the 42 different social networking platforms for sharing and liking what you see.

It’s a damned busy week for this guy!  The new rant dropped today, there’s a new webisode of Big Words I Know By Heart rolling out this Wednesday on ‘the YouTubes’, The Clarence Sun will be running an interview with Yours Truly that editor Alicia Greco conducted and on Sunday I’ll be doing a Reading & Signing at Milkie’s On Elmwood from 2-4 p.m.  Whew!  You’ll hear more from me as the week plays out.  I hope you like the new rant!

Excelsior!

Tom

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‘It’s All About The Benjamin’ goes live on BuffaloComedy.com

March 2, 2015

It's All About The Benjamin

Writing Travesty has been entirely too much fun so far!  And the more I think about it, the more I would prefer to let the book’s release slip to 2016 rather than rush publication.  We’ll see how the year plays out, though.  I’ve been approaching my writing and, by extension, the release of any future books from an entirely different perspective.  I don’t want to rush books anymore.  I don’t want to cut corners or shove a second draft out.

Anyway, the latest essay (‘It’s All About The Benjamin’) went live on BuffaloComedy.com this morning.  It’s a categorical humor essay about early parenting.  It went through about four different drafts and re-writes before I was happy with it, but I’m pretty proud of the finished product.  If you’re a parent, you’ll really enjoy this one.  Even if you’re not, there are a lot of laughs per sentence here:

It’s All About The Benjamin

I was reluctant to go back to the well so soon where being a single dad was concerned, but after putting some thought into it, I reached the decision that ‘Write What You Know’ overrides any other factors in play.  This essay was originally 6 or 7 rules and kept building until it reached 10.  There’s not a lot of fat on this piece.  I tried to write (and re-write) it efficiently without a lot of extraneous exposition.  I hope you like it.

Please take an extra minute to give it a FB Like, a Retweet or a ‘Share’ on any of your various social networking.  I’m happy to share some of my works in progress for free and this is a small way that you can return the kindness.

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‘Time Served’ Goes Live on BuffaloComedy.com

February 2, 2015

Time ServedAs you can probably guess from the accompanying picture, it was finally time to write about my divorce.  Sometimes I write to vent, sometimes I write just to laugh and once in awhile, I write as the only cathartic and therapeutic way to process a turbulent life event that I’ve gone through emotionally.  I’m sure you can guess which category this essay falls into.

There were a lot of avenues I could have taken when writing about my divorce and in the end I decided to touch down on all of them instead of dwelling on any aspect specifically.  With all of the Buffalo Comedy pieces I’ve fallen into a routine of giving each essay one last look-through and one more edit before it’s ready for prime time, so to speak.  You can be the judge, jury and executioner on the final product:

http://buffalocomedy.com/2015/02/time-served/

If you read it and like it, please take an extra minute to ‘Like’ it on the dashboard at the bottom OR ‘Share’ on your networking platforms.  This was a really important writing exercise that I had to work through and while I’m never positive that any edit is perfect, I’m pretty happy with the finished product.

‘Time Served’ will eventually appear in my upcoming book Travesty.  The book is already halfway done, but I’m making a concerted effort not to rush it so the publication date might just slip to 2016.  Thanks are in order to Buffalo Comedy editor Kristy Rock for navigating through my neurotic emails and appeasing my silly whims throughout each submission process.  Now it’s time to go to work on the next one.

Tom Waters

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2015 Reading & Signing Announced April 12th @Milkie’s On Elmwood!

January 7, 2015

In the midst of implementing my overall plan for 2015, I’ve spent a few weeks working with Ed Becher, the booking agent for Milkie’s On Elmwood.  After a volley of emails and phone calls, we finally scheduled, booked and confirmed a date and time for my first reading and signing of the year.  Here are the details:

Book Reading & Signing w/local humor author Tom Waters Sunday, April 12th 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

Milkie’s On Elmwood 522 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo

(716)882-5881 Admission is free.

Signed first edition books available from $15.

I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Milkie’s lately.  It’s refreshing to discover so many new businesses in the city who are open to ‘out of the box’ promotions as well as supporting local artists.  This is an event that I’m really looking forward to.  With a four month lead time, I hope you all have time to join me!

As far as Icarus On The Mend: Memoirs Of A Manic Depressive goes, I am over the tipping point on the limited print run of special edition hardcovers sold.  There are now less than 25 copies available for sale.  Hopefully I will still have some copies on hand for the Milkie’s reading.  If you are interested in a signed hardcover and would like one beforehand, I can be reached at:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

That’s all for today.  I’m sure I’ll be booking some other readings this year, but Milkie’s may be the only reading I commit to before autumn arrives.

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‘Bat To The Future’ Appears on BuffaloComedy.com

January 5, 2015
2015 marks the end of DC's year-long celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Batman.

2015 marks the end of DC’s year-long celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Batman.

Since we’re on to a new month and a new year, I’ve got a brand new essay up on BuffaloComedy.com.  It’s on a topic I’ve covered before and most likely will cover again: Batman.  I couldn’t resist the urge to comment on DC’s ‘Batman75’ celebration, so I punched up ‘Bat To The Future a longer essay about the comics, the films, the cartoons and the games with next to no accuracy where chronology is concerned and proudly so.  You can check it out right here, gang:

Bat To The Future

Please take the time to read, Share on any and all networking platforms and to Like on that pesky Facebooks.

When I punched up the first draft I considered putting in the research and including citations along with writing the piece in chronological order.  That notion went out the window pretty quickly.  Much like ‘Reg Soldiers On’ (my essay from the 2009 book Slapstick & Superego)   I opted for a free-association format instead.  This may invite immediate attacks from the sort of comic fanboys who quote chapter, verse and issue number, but so be it.  I thought the piece might be more approachable to the casual reader by not taking that route.

I’m pretty proud of the four essays that have run so far with BuffaloComedy.com and hope that the next eight will follow suit.  Editor Kristy Rock and I have settled into a comfortable routine of submitting two pieces so that she can select one.  That way half of the new material can go live in a timely manner and the other half can be saved for the manuscript of the upcoming book Travesty.

There’s another great announcement to make, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.  Best not to give everything away all at once…

See you in the funny papers,

Tom

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New Year, New Deal

January 1, 2015

2015 is going to be an exciting year for me as well as my company, Doubt It Publishing. For the first time in my life I have a solid battle plan as well as the means to implement it. My vision for the next year in a nutshell is this: Expanding the legacy I have and preserving it at the same time. While some of you may argue that ‘legacy’ is too strong a word, let me proactively counter by saying that every one of us leaves a legacy in our wake either intentionally or unintentionally. If I’m being optimistic, I’ve still got half of a lifetime left. I’d like to make it count. What follows is a specific outline of my plans for the radio show, the video show, my own bibliography and a possible catalog for Doubt It Publishing in the coming year:

I don’t want to lose what I’ve already accomplished. Discovering that The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour had gone offline and off the grid on iTunes (as a direct result of the website Mevio closing their doors) really stung. To date, I’ve ported the 100+ episodes of Big Words Radio twice to two different websites. The process is arduous and time intensive. I really didn’t want to see the show disappear forever from public view. Thankfully (as a result of my renewed passion for reading), I stumbled onto a website that will hopefully never go away. It’s a non-profit project to preserve the best of the internet for generations to come encompassing audio, text and video. Think of it as a PBS for the information age.

The website I’m referring to is the Internet Archive. I’ve been secretly and quietly uploading episodes of The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour chronologically and placing them there in what I hope is their final resting place. They’ve been uploaded under a Public Domain license, which means that anyone who reaches my shows can listen if they like, share with whomever they like or download the shows for free. Episode V was just uploaded yesterday, and I’ll continue to post the entire catalog as the year plays out. You can view, listen and download the current shows available here:

The Big Words I Know By Heart RadioHour

For your convenience, I’m also posting a Quick Link on my website here to the RIGHT of this article. If you listen or download, please take the time to write a brief review of the episodes you peruse.

As for Big Words Video, there are some amazing shows in store for you all and they are all confirmed and booked through to the very end of 2015. Filmmaker and comic book proprietor Emil Novak (Queen City Bookstore) will be my guest in two weeks. Who else is coming on? ‘Dr. Dirty’ himself John Valby, Graham Nolan (the comic creator of Batman’s Bane), Public publisher Geoff Kelly and possibly Tom Sartori, to name just a few. I’ve learned from producing four years of the radio show that it’s a smart move to plan ahead, always have a backup plan and always be prepared. Filming the show (as opposed to interviewing guests over the phone or via Skype) has forced me to give the content more of a local focus. There is a wellspring of talented writers, comedians, musicians and other entertainers with no sign of drying out, and I will continue to help celebrate the homegrown talent we have on hand locally and regionally until further notice.

Big Words Video Episode I: ‘Hang In There, Baby!’ has already passed the 400 view mark on YouTube and from what I’m seeing, it looks like the show keeps picking up new viewers with every episode. Not only that, but the people who watch appear to be cycling back through the other shows as well. Later this month I’ll be exclusively filming on location at the 2014 Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards, and with more equipment and a looser leash on Youtube just around the corner, you can expect to see a marked increase in show production in late August when Big Words Video kicks off Season Two. In the meantime, you can support the show by ‘Liking’ and ‘Sharing’ it on Youtube as well as Subscribing to my YouTube Videos (bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com) for the Bonus Episodes as well as my producer’s (Richard Wicka). It’s been a great deal of fun so far and it’s just going to get better.

As for my books, I own all publishing rights to the last 8 out of the 12 books that I’ve penned since 2002. There’s a larger plan for that too, but I don’t know if I’ll have the time or the resources to get around to that particular wrinkle. As a reluctant and late adopter to the digital revolution, I am hard at work designing multi-format ebooks for my entire catalog. I can’t give you an exact date because I want to make sure that it’s done right (and some editing may be applied to each individual title before they go live), but I can promise you that by year’s end, Mockery and no less than one other title from the Doubt It Publishing roster will be available on iBooks, Kindle format and all other ebook devices.

As far as BuffaloComedy.com, my alliance with editor Kristy Rock will continue until at least October of this year. The freedom I’ve been allowed on the site to write, do and say as I please has been much-needed, and it’s a comfort to know that my sense of humor is still intact after weathering one of the most tumultuous times in my life. Her only request was one for positivity, and that single instruction has helped to drastically change my writing, which is directly coloring the content to Travesty, my next book.

Regarding Travesty’s completion, there is less than a third of the book left to pen. That being said, I am in no hurry, and it will not be released until it is near-perfect. After writing 12 books and releasing 15 in the short span of 11 years, I sincerely feel that I don’t have anything to prove anymore, and should subsequently relax and take my time with any future endeavors. Travesty may come out later this year or early next year. Unfortunately I can’t be any more specific than that. It will come out when it’s ready.

With Doubt It Publishing, I’m reminded of the near-inescapable fate that many independent music and book publishers eventually reach. If history is any indicator, I may be doomed to a catalog that largely shares my last name. I wish this wasn’t so, and will try to do what I can to combat it. The doors are still wide open for local or regional authors looking to find a home for their work. I am going to put on my thinking cap this year and try to find some viable writing talents with fresh and subversive voices fighting for the chance to be heard. If you or someone you know has written a great manuscript that has a fighting chance in a competitive marketplace, queries and sample chapters can be sent to my attention at:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

Where readings and signings are concerned there will be more, plain and simple. The last two readings were successful financially, so it would be foolish not to continue. Once the winter months recede, you can count on me hitting the road with a PA system, a few boxes full of books and a bicycle horn. Now that I’m older I don’t see the benefit of booking three and four appearances a week for three month campaigns anymore, but I’ll be picking and choosing some select venues and peppering them throughout the summer and fall.

This is a remarkable time in my life and I’m grateful for the cornucopia of opportunities (and mediums) I have to channel all of my creative needs. As always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the trip with me.

Starting 2015 with a bang,
Tom

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You’re Doing It Wrong: My Three Month Experience With Logitech Customer Service

December 26, 2014
"The #1-selling case for iPad" according to Logitech's packaging.  It's safe to say that there are one or two design flaws.

“The #1-selling case for iPad” according to Logitech’s packaging. It’s safe to say that there are one or two design flaws.

Before I get started, let me qualify myself. I’ve worked in customer service (in one form or another) since I was sixteen years old. Whether it was on the front lines during Christmas in retail, being the first line of defense for a home security company, managing a locally owned movie theater and just about everything in between that you could think of, I have a pretty good grasp of what good service is and how that trickles down from a corporate or privately held company philosophy. The golden rule remains that you should treat other people the way that you’d like to be treated. Some insist that the customer is always right. That’s not a belief I subscribe to, but within reason, you should try to take care of the customer’s needs.

That being said, my three month ordeal with Logitech is (without a doubt) the worst experience I have ever had with any company in my entire life. I am appalled at the leaps, hurdles and bureaucratic bullshit that I had to endure to fulfill a replacement for a product that was well within warranty. After what I went through, I would never recommend them as a company to anyone. Quite to the contrary, I will most likely go out of my way to tell people NOT to do business with them or support their products. Here’s what happened. Up until three months ago, I loved Logitech. They make a lot of electronic accessories and I was familiar with their headsets and game controllers from my time as a manager for Electronics Boutique. Their accessories were always a bit more expensive than their competitors, but they were also better designed, sleeker and longer lasting than their counterparts. They gained a reputation for having responsive, durable accessories with inspired design.

Over the summer I bought an iPad Air. When looking around for a keyboard/carrying case combo, I naturally selected Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Folio ($99). It’s a compact case that was advertised (on the packaging) as the “#1Selling Case for the iPad”. This may have more to do with the prominent marketing and merchandising of their product in Apple stores than the quality and durability of the product itself. The case functions with magnets on the bottom (near the keyboard) and a pair of plastic bordered clips at the top rather than the all-inclusive left and right mesh-gripping sides that I’ve seen on similar products.

Shortly after I bought the case my iPad fell out onto the floor. I was walking with the iPad in the upright position, so one could argue that it was my fault. I wasn’t running, I wasn’t jerking the case up and down while moving, I was just walking with the case in order to keep busy during a commercial break on the show I was watching. Luckily, the iPad wasn’t damaged. I wasn’t as lucky the second time. The next time it happened (about a month later), the iPad fell down a concrete set of steps and cracked irreparably across the screen in multiple places. It appears as if the two tiny plastic border clips at the top weren’t as tight in their grip on the iPad as they were when I bought the product. Thankfully, I purchased Apple Care with the iPad, and was able to replace it for a $50 fee. As for the case, I noticed a hairline fracture on the border clip at the top right. AT NO TIME did the Folio case fall to the ground. I had to apply some Gorilla Glue to the crack, which made the entire case combo look ridiculous.  A week later I set the iPad on a counter with the case closed and my new iPad slipped and fell onto the floor. The right border clip had cracked and fallen off completely. This is just poor structural design.

On or around October 15th of this year I filed a warranty claim through Logitech’s website. I included my entire original receipt information, warranty information, serial number and manufacturer number as requested. The generated response by a Lani V. informed me that the company would get a hold of me within seven to ten business days. They didn’t. I followed up with the company and sent an email on October 26th including pictures of the damage. By November 5th, I still hadn’t heard from anybody via phone or email, so I re-sent my previous email. Twice. I sent a new email referencing my case number on November 9th explaining the entire experience and asking for a new case as well as some sort of reimbursement for the damage directly caused as a result of using their case. No one from Logitech called or responded to my email.

By November 19th, I called Logitech at their non-1-800 number, waited on hold for twenty minutes and spoke to a Daryl L., who didn’t leave his name in the body of the email he sent me. Much like my original email over a month earlier, Daryl L. told me that the case was covered under a two year warranty and that I would be receiving my replacement. He had me re-send my original email (which I had already sent multiple times). We got disconnected. A few days later on November 22nd (when I had time to dial long distance and sit on hold for awhile), I called Logitech again to make sure that my replacement was sent out. I’m not sure who I spoke to that particular time as I have no notation in my emails and they never offered their name on the phone or email. In my experience, if a customer service representative won’t offer you their name it’s either because they’re doing something they’re not supposed to do or because they don’t want to get in trouble. The email I sent out THAT day was another trio of pictures displaying the structural flaws of the case along with all of my warranty information (serial #, manufacturer’s #, etc.) all over again.

Another month passed. I was amazed that I still hadn’t received my replacement and had long since purchased a Belkin Folio case for $20 less with better functionality, a longer charge cord and a better grip on the iPad itself. Out of determination and sheer curiosity at just how long Logitech was going to draw this fiasco out, I called Logitech again at their non-1-800 number and spoke to someone else who didn’t offer their name. This was last week, December 17th. When I asked why it was taking so long to reach my home, the male customer servicer rep blamed it on UPS. In my almost forty years on this planet as a manager for a video game retailer, a shipping and receiving employee for big box stores and as someone who’s ordered plenty of things online that ship via UPS, I have NEVER known UPS to take one month to ship anything to anyone anywhere for any reason. It sounded like a complete cop-out and there is zero doubt in my mind that this customer service rep was trying to shift the blame away from Logitech and onto anyone else. I finally received my replacement Folio keyboard on Christmas Eve this week, over three months after filing the initial claim through Logitech’s website.

This isn’t a case of one person dropping the ball. As a result of this experience, it’s my firm belief that there is a major systemic failure at the core of Logitech’s customer service philosophy. From a lack of response emails to a lack of any accountability by any of the three or four reps I spoke with on the phone to a daisy chain of procedural warranty filing and photograph sending to actually blaming another company, anybody else for their total failure to live up to their product, their warranties or their customers, I am left with the impression that 1) Logitech makes a shoddy product that breaks the tablets said product is designed to protect, 2) Logitech really doesn’t give a shit about their customers after they buy their products and 3) Logitech will go out of their way to avoid accepting responsibility for their products at every single level of their customer service department from their website straight on through to their live customer service department. The three months that I spent with Logitech were without exception the WORST customer experience I have ever had with any company in retail or out of it. I am flabbergasted that they have any brand name reputation at all if this is the way that they treat most customers when they have an issue. Please don’t support the company, their products or their way of doing business.

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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Striking Gold At The WNY Book & Arts Center

December 7, 2014

The Book Reading & Signing today at the WNY Book & Arts Center was something of a fourth quarter Hail Mary.  Is that an appropriate sports metaphor?  I certainly don’t know.  At any rate, attendance wasn’t looking too good from the outset, but a really nice crowd showed up from Amherst, Depew, Lancaster and Buffalo proper, and not only that, they showed up with money!  I’m very grateful to have readers who know that the best way to support local, living authors is with their wallets.  I’m a happy camper after this particular reading, and I certainly wouldn’t mind circling back to WNYBAC again some day.  After two readings in two months, though, this old dog is tired.  That’s it for the live promotions for a little while, at least.  Maybe I’ll see you all on the front lines sometime in the spring.  In the meantime, here’s a clip from today’s 2 hour marathon reading.  Thanks are in order to Rosemarie Williams at WNYBAC as well as all of you who came near and far to see me.  As far as the YouTubes go, you’ll see me (not the other way around) in less than two weeks!

Sharing the Buffalove (ugh…),

Tom Waters

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‘Unplugged’ (an excerpt from the upcoming book Travesty) is up on BuffaloComedy.Com!

December 2, 2014

Three months ago, when Buffalo Comedy Editor Kristy Rock and I were in discussions about my coming on board, she told me that she wanted positive material. For those of you who have followed my writing for any length of time, this is a tall order. So far I’m enjoying the challenge, and it’s actually changing the content for the back half of Travesty, the collection I’m working on right now. My partnership with Buffalo Comedy is something I’m committing to for at least a year, and so at least on my end, I’ve been very pleased with our relationship.  I’ve had good experiences with Buffalo publications as well as bad ones and so far this one falls under the ‘Good’ heading.  Kristy has been professional, helpful and she’s always followed through with her end of the bargain, so she’s aces in my book.

This month starts off with ‘Unplugged’, an essay about willfully reducing my exposure to television. I was concerned that the piece wasn’t funny enough to fit the parameters of the site, but Kristy passed it with flying colors. I often approach writing an essay from two different angles; sometimes I focus on the message primarily, and other times I focus on the humor. In rewrites, I work on finding a balance between the two, but occasionally humor doesn’t ‘fit’ with the overall theme. None of this is here or there, though, and I abhor those who spend more time explaining what their work is about than the elapsed time it takes to appreciate it, so I’ll let you judge for yourself. Feel free to read ‘Unplugged’ right here:

http://buffalocomedy.com/2014/12/unplugged

Please take the time to ‘Like’ ‘Unplugged’ on Facebook, ‘Share’ and of course ‘Retweet’ on Twitter as well as your five dozen other social media outlets. Like Buffalo Comedy says, ‘Sharing Is Caring’. My hope is that you’ll be able to see a bigger picture at the end of these twelve essays. I’ve changed, and so has my writing along with it. That’s enough naval gazing for one day, though. Enjoy!

Thanks,
Tom

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Polar Vortex! ‘McKinley’s & Mad Hamburgers’ from Slapstick & Superego (2009, Doubt It Publishing

November 18, 2014

For those of you who braved the elements last night and made it out to Hot Mama’s Canteen for the book reading and signing, a great time was had by all.  A big thanks goes out to everyone at Hot Mama’s for making it happen.  I will definitely do another one down the road.  Their ‘Navajo’ wings alone are reason enough for a return trip, and it was one of the friendliest venues I’ve ever dealt with in terms of bookings.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a rant from last night.  Please take the time to Watch, Like & Share!  Enjoy:

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‘Grant Me The Rigidity’ appears on BuffaloComedy.com!

November 4, 2014

imageFor those of you who follow this blog, you’ll remember that I spoke of buffalocomedy.com being a new home for me about a month ago.  After a few discussions with editor Kristy Rock, I’ve decided to write for them once a month.  Well, that month is up and there’s a new essay up there about my recovery.  Wanna read it?  Whelp, click on the link below and take a ride on that superinformation highway, folks!:

 

 

‘Grant Me The Rigidity’, an excerpt from the upcoming book Travesty

Since I’m not a big fan of spending ten minutes explaining what a piece of writing is about for a rant that will take about six minutes to read, I’ll just say that I spent a lot of time thinking of an appropriate way to write about my experience in recovery.  The policy in the Program that I belong to is not to write about it at all.  That’s just too bad. I felt that it would be a betrayal to my readers NOT to include this experience in my lexicon.  I’d rather catch hell (and I’m sure I will) in the short term from my fellow members than suffer from the sin of omission.

It should also be noted that the agreement that I struck with Kristy is a positive one. My new editor wants material with a positive leaning, which is actually a challenge for me.  I think that the resulting writing over the course of the next year will be a happy change of pace.

As for the last go-round, I submitted two previously unpublished essays.  Kristy picked the recovery piece.  Suffice it to say that I have a lot of new material at my disposal, so at best, you’ll be privy to less than half of it as the months roll forward.

Please take the time to click the link above, read the rant, ‘Like’ on Facebook and ‘Share’ via any and all social media that you engage in.  I hope you enjoy the piece.  I’m coming up on one year of sobriety at the end of this month, so the article means a lot to me.

Have a great week!

Tom

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode III: ‘Cork Va-Jay-Jay

October 25, 2014

image

Another solid show!  Now that we’re three episodes in on Big Words Video, we’re starting to hit our stride.  Here is your synopsis:

Big Words I Know By Heart III: ‘Cork Va-Jay-Jay’: Tom goes a round with author D. Mark McElligott (Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind)  to talk about his forced retirement, his new novel and the natural arc of lady parts.  Co-host Terry Kimmel denies any association with taking part in human sacrifice.  You can watch the new episode right HERE: 

As always, please take the time to ‘Like’ & ‘Share’ the show on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and beyond.  Word of mouth means EVERYTHING as the show is still technically new.

Thanks are in order to Mark and Terry for putting up with my abuse in the name of comedy.  I am forever indebted to producer Richard Wicka for making the magic happen behind the scenes.

I’ll see you all in a month.  I’m bringing in the big guns for Episode IV and it’s going to be a star-studded event.

Enjoy!

Tom

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Big Words Video 3.5: Oratory

October 25, 2014

For this Big Words Video Bonus, Mark McElligott read an excerpt from his book Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind (2011, Doubt It Publishing).  Please take the time to ‘Like’ & ‘Share’ on Youtube.  Thanks!

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A Triumphant Return To Acid Logic re: Buffalo Bills Fans, Travesty Keeps Truckin’, Big Words Video 2 Approaches…

September 7, 2014
Acid Logic's accompanying cartoon for 'An Open Letter To The Rest Of The Country (and also the planet) re: Buffalo Bills Fans'

Acid Logic’s accompanying cartoon for ‘An Open Letter To The Rest Of The Country (and also the planet) re: Buffalo Bills Fans’

This is not to brag, but I’ve got enough publishing credits to last me a lifetime. In the last ten years, I’ve written, worked for, contributed or been published in enough papers, magazines, ezines and quarterlies to last me a lifetime. I’d like to think at this point that I can pick and choose when, where and why I publish with anyone from here on out.

That being said, though, there’s a special place in my heart for Acid Logic, one-man publisher/editor/juggernaut Wil Forbis’ online ezine of pop culture. He was one of the first national web sites to publish my work nearly fifteen years ago, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. He was also a guest on the now-defunct Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour, promoting Acid Logic as well as his book (same title, with essays from AL over the year penned by Forbis) and his music CDs. As a longtime Californian, Forbis and I just clicked. Those of you who have been following for awhile may also remember that Forbis wrote the forward to First Person, Last Straw, my third collection of essays in 2005.
It is also with the spirit of blind rage that I have towards Buffalo Bills fans that I decided to publish with Acid Logic again for the first time in many years. Forbis’ timing is impeccable; the new issue of AL rolled out today while (in Buffalo), thousands of mindless drones are rallying together for the Buffalo Bill’s Home Opening Game. “An Open Letter To The Rest Of The Country (and also the planet)” rolled out today with top billing. If you missed it here, you can catch the rant here:

http://www.acidlogic.com/buffalo_bills.htm

In other news, the writing on Travesty (my next book) is really starting to gather momentum. The book is almost halfway done. Like any other collection, it’s sure to find its own central theme by accident. It’s been a lot of fun so far. I’ve decided to drop my name from each essay for the very first time in the book’s layout. It seems redundant, and honestly, I’m too old to keep doing the nickname thing after every rant. It was a gimmick that caught on very early in my career and it’s high time to retire it.
And the next ‘webisode’ of Big Words I Know By Heart is a little more than two weeks away. Comic book impresario Kyle Kaczmarczyk (Igor: Occult Detective, The Red Eye, Pulp and the award winning Fubar) will be joining me in the studio on September 24th along with co-host Jenny O.
I’m trying to find a delicate balance in my life where creativity is concerned, so I will make an effort to update more consistently here in an effort to keep you in the loop and up to speed. There has to be a happy homeostasis between overworking to the point of burnout and dropping off the grid for too long and losing readers (or viewers) in the process. I haven’t had it before, but it seems possible now. A lot of things seem possible now.

Stay tuned,
Tom

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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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Final Artwork For Icarus On The Mend Limited Run Hardcover by Six Shot Studios

July 26, 2013

Final Artwork For Icarus On The Mend Limited Run Hardcover by Six Shot Studios

Sharp!

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‘Out With The Old, In With The Newborn’, a recently rejected essay submitted to The Buffalo News

July 24, 2013

For those of you who may have enjoyed reading this-T.W.

Four hours ago my baby son came into the world and I couldn’t be more overjoyed.  Friends warned me that everything would change.  Now I know that it wasn’t a dark prediction so much as a wish fulfilled, or a positive and much needed redirection in our lives.  After crying my eyes out and holding my wife’s hand in the operating room afterwards, I can’t wait for the new road ahead of us.  At six pounds and six ounces (and about a month ahead of schedule), Benjamin Waters made his smashing debut.    

            For the last three years my wife Lindsay and I have been trying for a child and our efforts finally bore fruit last September.  When she broke the news to me with a pregnancy test in one hand after work and a wry joke (‘Honey, we’ve got a problem’), I cracked a grin and embraced her in the kitchen.  It’s cemented in my mind just like our first date on October 15th in 2004.  There are moments you never forget when you’re building a life together.  Our first date, the day I told her I loved her (New Year’s Eve that same year), our wedding day and now, the birth of our child.

            Since we got married there’ve been a lot of hard times and lean months.  Worse along with the better.  I’ve often said that you can’t appreciate the great moments unless you’ve gone through some tough days.  We’ve weathered out most of the worst and moved along to the best time of our lives.  The rough times we’ve suffered through together have made us stronger as a couple and make the wonderful experiences that much more magical. 

            I’ve always been uneasy around newborns.  I even wrote an essay about it (‘March Of The Newborns’ from my third book, First Person, Last Straw).  This little guy was different.  Benjamin Waters turned me around on the entire concept.  Looking through his tiny eyes and cradling his little body in my arms in the Recovery Room I saw an entire universe that was new and fresh to a being that was about to experience everything for the first time.  Not a carbon copy of myself, but a fresh amalgamation of my wife, myself and the generations before us.  Living proof that all of our accomplishments pale in comparison to the life we create, the true legacy that we leave behind some day.

            Parents warned me about getting no sleep, changing a never-ending supply of diapers and getting peed on in the face.  Another friend explained the situation much better by saying that he never understood the concept of being willing to die for someone until he had a child.  Single people spurned the very idea of it and challenged my love of barhopping, going out on a whim or the freedom of independence.  I gladly give it all up to raise a life that we made together. 

            My study has been transformed into a baby room.  Curios, collectibles and knick knacks from my former life have been relocated, packed up, boxed away and retired.  We bought a new, safer car (not a minivan, thank God) so that my transmission wouldn’t die out when I’m taxiing little Benjamin around.  Since the shower, we have clothes for every occasion, accessories for any contingency and enough blankets and homemade quilts to cover the entire household.  Out with the old, in with the newborn. 

            Everything has changed and this isn’t even the first full day.  After a fourteen hour labor and a day filled with caffeine and one meal, I’m still too excited to sleep.  Two sets of first time grandparents are chomping at the bit to spoil our son rotten and I’m more than ready to slow down, stop being so childish and selfish and take care of our child together.  Children change everything.  For the better. 

Tom Waters

-Tom Waters wrote many Club Watch reviews for the Buffalo News along with ten books of essays and poetry.  He looks forward to an early retirement from all that and a new career in carpeting FaceBook with baby pictures.        

                

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Preliminary Artwork Compliments Of Six Shot Studios For Icarus On The Mend: Memoirs Of A Manic Depressive

July 12, 2013

icarus cover

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Big Words Radio Episode 70: ‘Rack-tastic’

March 15, 2012

To be honest, this was one interview where I had no idea what questions I was going to ask.  We’ve never had a rapper on the show before!  Like any other episode, though, once we started recording everything fell into place.  Here’s your synopsis:

 

Episode 70: ‘Rack-tastic’

Tom talks to Buffalo rapper Lex about his breakout E.P. ‘Threshold Of A Dream’. Co-host Billy Dyson fumbles through stock questions while Lex bad-mouths WBNY.

 

-To listen to the show in full audio quality, click here:

http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html

 

-To hear the latest show as well as the entire 100+ episode history of Big Words Radio, click here:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

-You can also subscribe to the show by searching ‘Big Words Radio’ on ‘the iTunes’.

 

Thanks are in order to Lex for rolling with the punches (he never bad-mouthed WBNY), Billy Dyson for withstanding my abuse and knowing when to interject, and producer Richard Wicka for stifling his rage when we showed up an hour and a half early to the studio and still managed to start the interview ten minutes late.

 

Enjoy!

Tom Waters

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A Fond Farewell To Club Watch

February 20, 2012

As of today, I will no longer be writing Club Watch reviews for The Buffalo News.  After a great deal of soul searching and months of talking it over with my wife, we’ve both come to the conclusion that it’s time to move on.  As a writer, I’ve reached an age where I’ve started closing some doors behind me in order to go forward into more challenging directions.

Back in 2001, I fell into the hobby by accident.  I approached Jeff Miers (the editor of Buffalo Beat at the time) about doing a weekly column.  He suggested that I start a bar review section for their alternative weekly and (after accepting), he titled it ‘Boozin’ In The Buff’.  After four or five weeks of reviews, Buffalo Beat got bought out and turned into Blue Dog Press, which also went the way of the dodo.

In 2002 I spent three months researching strip clubs in the U.S. and Canada and wrote ‘A Fistful Of Loonies’, one large, exhaustive expose’ about the lifestyle, the sociology behind it and how the entire microcosm worked.  I pitched it to Ed Honeck (the editor of Night Life magazine) and he ran it in four sections.  You can still read the essay in my first book, Born Pissed.  Once all four parts had run their course, I came to Ed and said, ‘What now?’

For the next five years I was Night Life’s point man for bar and exotic club reviews.  I settled into a gonzo style of reporting where I focused on two things: how cheap the drinks were and how hot the women were.  In many reviews I spent more time writing about what sort of drunken insanity my friends and I had gotten into than the bars themselves.  I got to interview a lot of prominent adult film stars including Mary Carey, Puma Swede and Regan Anthony.

By the time 2007 rolled around Lindsay and I were living together in Lancaster.  Covering exotic clubs was getting old and thanks to a different campaign by the Buffalo News (YourHub, a social network that came and went), I was introduced to Brian Connolly, who was the editor of the Club Watch section at the time.  I sent out some sample reviews and he gave me the green light to start covering assignments.  I drove to the publishing offices for Night Life magazine downtown to break the news to Ed and pitched him on a weekly column (‘Big Words I Know By Heart’).  He understood and accepted the column, so for quite a few years I was on double duty writing the weekly column for Night Life and Club Watch reviews for The News.  Since the Club Watch format was a more stringent style of who, what, when, where and why reporting, I took a lot of the funniest Night Life reviews and published Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars.  You can still find that book behind a lot of bars in Buffalo as well as online.

So now, after five years of freelancing with The Buffalo News, it’s time to say goodbye.  While I’ll never say never, I could use a long break.  I don’t ever want to reach a point with any of my writing where an assignment feels like a chore, or I feel like I’m phoning an assignment in for a paycheck or writing on autopilot.  Ten years is a long time to write in any format, and I’m sure you know by now that I’ve got a lot of other plates spinning.

Since 2001 I’ve written for The Buffalo News, ArtVoice, Acid Logic, Buffalo Beat, Buffalo Spree, Buffalo Rising, Boy’s Night Out, Alt Press, The Worldwide Freelancer and a score of other dailies, weeklies and online ‘zines.  I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do and prided myself on getting my assignments in well before deadline where print newspapers were concerned.  For the foreseeable future I’d like to focus more on my books, my publishing house and my radio show.  I’d also just like to sit down on a bar stool for the reasons I fell in love with Buffalo bars in the first place: cheap drinks, great ambience and some of the best conversation in the region.

Thanks for all the memories, Buffalo.

Tom Waters

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Doubt It Publishing @The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair

February 17, 2012

The show must go on!

 

While I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend or not due to work obligations, Doubt It Publishing will have a table at the event along with a catalog of books on sale at The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair.  Doubt It authors Mark McElligott (Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind) and David Waters (12 Priests & 3 Gnomes) will be at the event to hawk their wares, sign some books and meet and greet with attendees.  The boys will also have copies of If They Can’t Take A Joke, Slapstick & Superego, Mockery and Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick for sale.

This will be the third year that Doubt It Publishing will participate in the event.  The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair takes place on Saturday, March 24th at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum in downtown Buffalo from noon-6 p.m.  For more information, feel free to visit:  http://www.buffalosmallpress.org/

 

Buy our books already!

Tom Waters

Publisher, Author

Doubt It Publishing

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Big Words Radio Episode 68: ‘I Was Wakened By Rage’

January 16, 2012
We definitely started the New Year with a bang.
    Yesterday’s show was unpredictable, volatile and flat-out hilarious.  Atomic Don contends that it’s the best interview I’ve done on the show thus far.  I’ll say that it definitely belongs in the top ten.  Here’s your synopsis:
Episode 68: ‘I Was Wakened By Rage’
Tom aggravates the bejesus out of artist Tony Millionaire (Maakies, The Drinky Crow Show) by waking him up earlier than his regularly scheduled noon morning perambulations. Atomic Don does his best impression of Ed McMahon and the boys regale each other with tales of hard drinking, great cartooning, Newt Gingrich and anti-Semitism.
-To hear the show in full audio quality click on over to:
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
-To hear all 100+ episodes including bonus shows and additional clips click on over to:
http://www.bigwords.mevio.com
-You can also subscribe to The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour for free on ‘The iTunes’ by searching ‘Big Words Radio’ in the podcast section and clicking on the Comedy listing.
    We knew Tony Millionaire was going to be a good fit for the show, but I had no idea that he was going to be ideal.  The man was literally engineered for Big Words Radio.  A huge thank you goes out to Tony, Atomic Don and Producer Richard Wicka for orchestrating the perfect storm for our first foray into Season Five.  While Atomic Don gets a ‘runner’s high’ after jogging around for a few hours, I can always tell when we’ve had a good show because I get a warm, fuzzy feeling that lingers after we’re done taping.  This was one of those shows.
    Cartoonist Tom Beland (True Story, Swear To God) is on deck for February 7th along with co-host Michael Hoffert Jr. (It Came From The Long Box).  We’ve all got a tough act to follow, but it looks like Season 5 is off to one hell of a great start.
Enjoy,
Tom Waters
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Out With The Old, In With The New

December 29, 2011

2011 was truly a banner year all around.  If someone told me this time last year that I’d launch three books in the span of 8 months while working on two more and holding down a full time job, I’d tell them they were nuts.

Mockery got better media exposure than my last three books combined and went on to sell more copies faster than any other book I’ve released.  In terms of sales it’s second only to If They Can’t Take A Joke.  It continues to sell steadily even though the inaugural push is over with.

Mark McElligott’s Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind was a resounding breakout success from a talented and previously unheard of writer.  Together we managed to find a larger audience for his idiosyncratic brand of humor in his hometown of Lockport as well as throughout Buffalo.  And while there was no real launch campaign for Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, it’s turned a tidy profit since its release in August that would make its previous poetry predecessors proud.  The collection was received as an entertaining step forward compared to both Breathing Rooms.

            Somehow this year I also managed to get banned from Time Warner Cable and earned a film credit for the music video ‘I Wanna Be Oprah’ (which is still available on YouTube).  I guess we can chalk both up to being in the right place at the right time.

While doing some site maintenance this morning I realized that some of the links to the right here were broken.  I updated all of them to ensure that they were functional, so for those interested, you can now click on Born Pissed and Zany Hijinx to buy my first two books or click on ‘The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour’ link to go right to the show.  All of the links on the right-hand sidebar are fully operational again, so browse at your leisure!

Speaking of Big Words Radio, Season 4 turned out to be the magic number.  Somehow despite the over-the-top comedy and subversive, offensive content the show turned out to be the Little Podcast That Could, finding an audience of over 3,000 listeners per month.  Season 5 promises to be just as crass and irreverent as it’s always been, so stay tuned!

The next two years should be light duty compared to this one.  I’m putting the finishing touches on Icarus On The Mend: Memoirs Of A Manic Depressive before working on the cover and interior design with cover artist Derek Patrick Evoy and graphic designer Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios) for a firm signed and numbered (50 copies only) hardcover release date of October 25th, 2012.  Exactly one year later the book will appear again in two trade paperback volumes for the general public.

It remains to be seen whether there will be a 2012 Doubt It Publishing Author Of The Year.  The book I devoted countless time into proofreading, editing and consultation on fell through due to contract negotiations and after Voices From The Herd I have zero interest in extending a call for submissions.  I am working with someone on something else but time will tell if the concept bears fruit or not.

Thanks for such a spectacular year, everybody.  I look forward to a productive and financially successful New Year!

 

Sincerely,

Tom Waters            

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The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour Finale Roast

December 6, 2011

After 100 episodes, who knew that my former co-hosts would have so much pent up rage towards yours truly?

Seriously though, Friday’s Finale taping was everything I was hoping for and more.  After some exhaustive editing and splicing work over the course of the weekend we’ve got nearly two hours of creative variety and hilarious lambasting coming your way.  Here are your synopses:

The Big Words Radio Hour Finale Roast Pt.I: ‘Fag Hags & The 99%’

A star-studded cast of co-hosts from the catastrophic history of the program turn up to kick Tom in his baby nuts on the way down for the craptacular finale to a four year run of The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour.  Intentionally Bald Mike leads the charge, playwright Jon Elston gets himself into trouble, poet/comedian Josh Smith tears Tom a new one, Gun Nut Brendan enjoys what’s left of his Tullamore Dew (after Tom ‘has his way’ with it), Timmy C. reminisces about ‘Foamy Cokes’, Diabetes Dave laments his mom’s last pap smear, and all of the co-hosts in attendance launch an intervention with painfully poor results.

The Big Words Radio Hour Finale Roast Pt.II: ‘I Was Just Looking For Q-Tips & Polyps.’

Zombie Chris comes out of seclusion to discuss ‘the Meeghan double dip’, Tom’s old roommate Charles ‘Chezzie’ reflects on their magical bachelor years and refines his comedy routine, Doubt It Publishing wunderkind Mark McElligott further incriminates himself, Intentionally Bald Mike and Gun Nut Brendan return to cross a woefully small sword, rock star Michael Bly makes an unexpected cameo with his girlfriend Danielle and Intentionally Bald Mike blows a gasket over some shocking news about the show.

The Big Words Finale Bonus Round!

Hawaiian and/or Filipino wind-up car enthusiast Terry Kimmel shares a magical fantasy with Tom in the lead role and Chezzie sharpens up his comedy routine with mixed results.

To hear all three finale episodes along with every episode in the show’s history, click your way over to:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

You can also download the entire catalog for free by searching the Podcast section and clicking on the ‘Comedy’ listing on ‘the iTunes’.  Part I & II of the finale will appear on http://www.thinktwiceradio.com by the end of the week.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone who called in and showed up to tear me a new one.  Thanks for making the Finale so memorable.  A very big thank you goes out to Intentionally Bald Mike as well for being such an influential force from the humble beginnings of the show all the way to the end.

Well what the hell are you waiting for?  Download the damn shows already!

Enjoy,

Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio 67: ‘Tricky Dicks & Pregnant Possibilities’

November 17, 2011

Last night’s show was pitch perfect.  For the final studio episode of The Big Words I  Know By Heart Radio Hour I couldn’t have asked for a better guest, co-host or program.  For four years now producer and Think Twice Radio creator Richard Wicka has kept mostly silent for over 100 shows.  Until now.  Here’s your synopsis:

 

Episode 67: ‘Tricky Dicks & Pregnant Possibilities’

Tom rounds out his last show in the studio with Think Twice Nucleus Richard Wicka and co-host Carl Theil. The boys talk about their love lives, Occupy Wall Street, smelly hippies and an unexpected caller (Greg S.) weighs in without really bringing much to the table.

 

-To hear the show in full audio quality, click on over to:

http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html

 

-To hear the newest episode along with bonus clips and the entire history of the show, click your way over to:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

-You can also subscribe to the show for free on ‘the iTunes’ by searching Big Words Radio in Podcasts and clicking on the show under the Comedy category.

 

Thanks are in order to Richard Wicka (who was a lot more candid and forthcoming with his answers than I expected), Carl Theil for bringing some class and actual big words to the show and Gregory Sterlace for calling in during the show (a bit of a first for us).  I got a little choked up during the end, but overall it was a magical evening.  Rich, Carl and I have had a lot of great discussions during meals over the years so it was great to finally capture our dynamic on the radio show.

We’re two weeks away from the Big Words Finale Roast, so in the mean time, I hope you enjoy this show as much as we loved doing it.

 

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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T-Minus Two More Episodes: Big Words Radio Slowly Says Goodbye

November 15, 2011

Saying goodbye is a bitch.

 

It just hit me today that Big Words Radio is nearing a very real and definitive end of the road.  After being a guest on Susan Marie’s ‘This Is Not The Apple’ on Think Twice Radio in June of 2008, producer Richard Wicka asked me if I’d be interested in doing my own show.  I was reluctant, but after chewing on it for a few hours I figured ‘Why the hell not?’

It took a few shows to get my legs, but somehow the format figured itself out.  With my marriage, stress and an unexpected firing, the show turned into my therapy along with a launching pad for some of my favorite local musicians, national comic book artists and writers, adult film stars and a never-ending roster of great co-hosts.  Intentionally Bald Mike soon gained favor as a crucial part of the show.  Insanity, tell-all comedy and schmaltzy sound props quickly became the order of the day.

I can’t believe that it’s been four years.  I can’t believe that I’m two shows away from saying goodbye.  Between three or four different web sites, iTunes and a number of incarnations, put-ons and lurches and upsurges in the rest of my life, this is it.  It was a peripheral hobby that looked promising until it wasn’t.  Listeners started disappearing over the summer and the numbers kept getting worse.  Not one to go down with a sinking ship, I made a clear decision to ride out on a high note.

Tomorrow I’ll be coming full circle by interviewing the man who helped me to get the ball rolling: Producer Richard Wicka.  In three weeks time, every co-host who’s ever appeared on the show has a standing invitation to get back at me for all of my taunts, attacks and threats over the years for the Big Words Radio Finale on Friday, December 2nd from 6-8 p.m.  If you’ve been a co-host in the past and you’ve relocated, please phone your roast in to: (716) 823-1750.  Mention the roast at the beginning of your message and we’ll splice it into the last show.

There are too many people to thank who’ve been involved with the show so we’ll do that another time.  Early on I decided to formulate a persona that was clearly over the top compared to the voice I employ in my books.  Walking in the footsteps of heroes like Don Rickles, Lenny Bruce and Andrew Dice Clay, I figured that I’d host a show that I’d want to hear.  The kind of show that made me die laughing as a kid.  A format that made fun of everything.  Offensive, ridiculous and insane.  I hoped that people would get the gist of the spirit of the show.  I was wrong.

There was a boom in 2009 when the show split onto MyPodcast.com, but downloads and site hits have started vanishing in the last six months.  I guess my brand of comedy is a bit too extreme.  In 2002 I used to run out of breath hearing industry greats like Opie & Anthony in the studio with a rogue’s gallery of stand up comics tearing into each other.  I wanted to make a show that appealed to the comedian’s comedian.  For awhile it looked like it was working.

Best not to drag it out.  Chalk this up to closure.  I’m walking into the studio one last time and then we’re recording the Roast in December.  It’s tough to say goodbye to something that turned into such splendid therapy, but I strive to focus my efforts on projects with the largest audience.  Big Words Radio no longer falls into that category.

Counting down,

Tom

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Book Signing Dec.4th From 4-6 p.m. w/Mark McElligott

November 7, 2011

After a four month flurry of promotions together, Mark McElligott and I are still a bit tired and weary.  Nevertheless, we are planning some book events during the busy holiday season.  On Sunday, December 4th, we’ll both be at Talking Leaves on Elmwood from 4-6 pm signing copies of Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, Mockery and Mark’s breakout hit Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind.  All three books will be available for $15.  Talking Leaves currently has all three books in stock at both their Elmwood and Main St. locations.

I’m also in the process of setting something up at Dog Ears Books in South Buffalo for December, so stay tuned for news about that.  On top of that, Mark’s shown an interest in booking an event at Café Karma in Lockport, so odds are strong that we’ll book something for him there.

Even when we’re not busy, we’re busy.  I’m promoting lightly on Poke The Scorpion until my calendar frees up, so please try to make it out to Talking Leaves if you want a copy.  My time for the next month is deeply invested in proof-reading an editing a possible manuscript for next year and everything else is on a back burner for the time being.  While my poetry books have never been blockbusters in terms of sales, they’re steady sellers over the years and they mean every bit as much to me as the humor books or other projects.

We look forward to seeing you in December,

Tom Waters

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The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour Episode 63: ‘But We Digress’ & ‘Sh*t Show: The Bonus Round’

August 11, 2011

A decade ago I used to bust a gut listening to Opie & Anthony on FM Radio.  The shows I loved the most were the ones where they had a gaggle of other comedians on and they’d devote the entire program to just tearing into each other with their claws out while they offended the living shit out of everyone else.  There’s comedy and then there’s a comedian’s comedian.  I’ve strived my entire life to be the latter.  I think we pulled it off on this show and the bonus round was just a hot mess, but still fun to record.  Episode 63 could be the closest embodiment to what I’ve been trying to do with The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour in the entire four years that I’ve been doing it.  Here are your synopses:

 

Episode 63: ‘But We Digress’

 

Tom welcomes back Big Words Radio favorites Gun Nut Brendan along with Intentionally Bald Mike in the co-host hot seat.  The sparks fly when politics are brought up, everyone gets yelled at for setting their two-fisted drinks down on the table and things get really wrong really quick.

 

Sh*t Show: The Bonus Round

 

The gents get hillbilly drunk on Guinnei and cheap whiskey and keep the meter running while they run off at the mouth about politics.

 

You can listen this instant by clicking over to:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

You can also subscribe to the show for free if you want to see us keep going by logging in to your iTunes and choosing Big Words Radio under the Comedy listing in the podcast section.  Please tell a friend, listen in your car or post a link on your own FB page or web site.  This show needs all the help it can get during such a fabulous summer where most people don’t take the time to consider downloading new comedy on the go.  We had a really great time last night.  Shows that fun should be criminal.  Since Think Twice Radio was experiencing technical difficulties you can look forward to hearing a studio show toward the end of this month.  The guest is yet to be determined.  If this is possibly the last year for Big Words Radio I’m going out with a bang instead of a whimper.  Stay tuned.

 

Thanks,

Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio Turning Point

July 26, 2011

The fourth year for Big Words Radio could be the final one.

 

Downloads have been dropping steadily for the last two months.  I like to stay productive, but I don’t see a discernable benefit to putting so many man hours into punching up a prospectus, booking guests and slaving over the production, sound editing, intro and outro music and everything else involved with each show if the audience isn’t there.  This time last year the show was on a roll while it was nearing extinction on Mypodcast.com.  Roll the calendar forward by twelve months and we’re moving in the wrong direction.  I’m not quite sure what’s happening or where my crowd went where the radio show is concerned.  The books are selling better than they ever have.  Site hits here & everywhere else have been blowing up.  The new Twitterverse following is growing exponentially.  Big Words Radio is dying a slow death & it doesn’t make sense.  Like some hosts I could pretend that the show is better than ever, but I deal in facts and abide by honesty.

Here’s what’s going to happen: If I don’t see a marked increase in free subscriptions on iTunes or a spike in downloads on Mevio.com by the end of this summer, the show is over.  It’s that simple.  I’m not going to keep investing what little free time I have into trying to make people laugh with over the top outrageous comedy if you’re not down with the cause.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  Now’s the time to show me if you’re listening because if you’re not, I’m not doing it anymore.  I’ll pick up my toys and go home.

Maybe the podcasting boom has burst.  Maybe all of you are busy this summer (very probable).  Maybe my readers only have so much time that they’re willing to devote to waxing my ego.  I get that.  In case you haven’t noticed though, I deal in absolutes.  If the show isn’t growing, then it’s time to close the door.

My career as a writer is turning a very sharp corner this year in an incredibly positive way that I never imagined it would & it’s all happening this year at a lightning pace.  As a podcaster, not so much.  Half of my life is most likely over, so I’d like to make good use of the next half.  Please let me know how to invest my time wisely.

Some radio hosts and some writers can create without one person reading or listening.  I’m not that kind of person anymore.  I’ve got too many plates in the air to play by those rules.

If you want the show to go on, hop onto iTunes & subscribe to Big Words Radio in the podcast section under the ‘Comedy’ listing.  Download your ass off.  There are almost 92 hours of material that’s pretty damned funny.  It’s been a good run, but it might be time to hang up my hat and say farewell.

If you don’t have an iPod, surf on over to:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

Download 5 episodes.  Download 92 episodes.  Tell a friend.  Listen in your car.  Please spread the word.  It’s been real and it’s been fun, but this could be the tail end of it.

 

It’s up to you.

Tom Waters

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Eulogy For Renie (Waters) Ormsby

July 19, 2011

At the heart of things we’re all selfish in how we deal with the death of someone we love and it seems like the people we really love always pass near a major holiday.  This has more to do with the fact that we have more major and minor holidays than not, but there’s something to that that bears further inspection.  Out of everyone in my family, I’ve always forgotten my father’s birthday.  You may think that makes me a bad son (and you could be right), but he’s been known to go into hiding and (in some cases) to skip town when we’ve ganged up and decided to celebrate it, so it’s no wonder I forget it like clockwork every year.  Thanks to Renie, I’ll never forget it again.  The sweet and wonderful people of the world who we’re kind enough or lucky enough to have with us for the short time that we spin around together on this planet almost always leave us on a day that matters for a very important reason: they’re worth remembering.

My aunt left this earthly plane on Monday, July 18th on my father’s birthday.  I suppose that’s a superstitious way of demonstrating just how close the Waters’ family is to each other.  Renie was a devoted, loving wife to Gene Ormsby, a mother who would do anything for her two kids Brad & Brenda, a caring sister to what most would consider to be a large number of brothers and sisters, a daughter who grew up to be the spitting image of her mother in appearance and by her deeds and she was a damned good aunt to boot.  She touched a great many lives and her positivity and her persistent smile will continue to live on in all of us who knew her.

My grandma Waters loved to cook, she loved to play cards and she never tired of her family.  Renie was a spitting image of her.  You only get one family, so you can’t take them for granted and they both realized that.  No one can dispute that Renie was an excellent cook whether it was pastries, pies, fudge or anything else that required time, care and diligence.  I challenge you to find a member of the Waters tribe that won’t pace themselves when it comes to preparing a meal.  We’re all big people because we have big hearts followed by big appetites.  Before I got married (in February of 2007 and 2008) I got to go down to Frostproof and visit with Renie, Jean and the rest of the family.  Renie’s home was stacked to the rafters with pretzels, fudge, enough pies to feed the entire trailer park and a random assortment of sweets and assorted snack treats.  Renie had enough room in her life to cook, eat, spend time with her family and enjoy all three to the best of her abilities.  Her fudge was amazing and there’s probably not one person in that community that hasn’t eaten and thoroughly enjoyed one of her pies.  She cornered the market.

Let’s rewind, though.  Renie and her husband Gene married at an age most would consider too soon these days (and perhaps even then).  He showed my mother Lynn the ring before he proposed and married her while she was still in high school because he was so in love with her.  You could see that love every day that they were together.  They were crazy for each other.  There’s a pivotal difference between loving someone and being in love.  Most of us fall in love with the person we marry and continue to love them in a way that’s more secure and guarded and safe.  Staying in love with someone is next to impossible but they did it.  When you’re in love, it’s all you can think about, you want to spend every second with the object of your affections and you count the moments that you’re with them as well as the moments until you get to see them again.  Renie & Gene were in love with each other for the entire time that they were together and no one can dispute that.  They’re a prototype for the kind of blissful union that rarely occurs and an inspiration for the rest of us who are married, occasionally miserable or those of us who have settled into our regularly scheduled ruts.  They were good to each other because they meant everything to each other.  It’s that simple.

The Hormsby’s were no strangers to us growing up down at Rushford in the summer during the ’80s and ’90s.  It wasn’t a surprise to see their RV come down the road on a random afternoon unscheduled while I was out swimming, playing or finding trouble.  Gene had almost a room full of Western pulp paperbacks stuffed into the trailer along with their usual assortment of sweets and snacks.  While my cousin Brad was tough on me most of the time, we managed to meet each other in the middle and play rough somehow.  He took a shine to one of the girls across the creek one summer and they had something that resembled puppy love (another variety).  I wasn’t as lucky when my parents dumped me off for a week at Renie and Gene’s and I ran into one of the neighbor girls (I think her name was Corrine).  I was crazy about her but nothing came of it.

The rest of the week I spent with Renie and Gene (’86) was mostly paradise.  Brad was a hellion to me when I first got there but Renie straightened him out.  I managed to avoid any sort of real work on the farm (avoiding real work is a talent I’ve always had) and befriended a goat in their stables.  It was a cute little thing and his quite, simple manner offset Brad’s mischievous ways when I needed a break.  I had Cool Ranch Doritos for the first time when I was with them and never forgot that fact.  I ate as much of the bag as I could and licked the coating off of my fingers with gusto.  Weeks after staying with them I asked Renie how the goat was doing.  She informed me that they killed the goat and ate it.  City mouse, meet Country mouse.  I’m lucky in that I have half of each inside of me thanks to the Waters’ family as well as my upbringing in both Rushford and Buffalo.  We can never forget our roots, and as I get older and more sentimental I’m also giving in to my hillbilly underpinnings and reverting to the family legacy that I deserve to carry on.  I listen to country and bluegrass music and I would rather be out in an open field enjoying the soft silence and a slower pace of life than racing around in the city impatiently where grass is partitioned off and people are rude to each other frequently.

I regret that I didn’t spend more time with Renie as I got older but I’m grateful that we reconnected before and during my marriage.  Renie and Gene would give family the shirt off their backs if need be and they often did.  The two of them offered generously to let my wife and I stay at their timeshare in Myrtle beach for our honeymoon and we accepted.  The airplane that was leaking gas onto the tarmac at the Buffalo Airport had other plans for us, though, so we flipped a coin and wound up spending a week at Lindsay’s parents’ cottage in Silvercreek overlooking Lake Erie.  She was heartbroken that we couldn’t go, but we had the time of our lives regardless.  We settled in like an old married couple and went out to breakfast every day and napped as often as we could, resting up from all of the pressure and nonsense that goes into getting married.  Most of my family loves my wife more than me and I can’t blame them.  I’m a miserable, cranky, cantankerous curmudgeon and she’s a beautiful, cheery, down to earth girl from Elma.  Renie and Gene took a shine to her instantly and she cared a lot about them, too.  Her death yesterday hit us both pretty hard and we’re sorry that we couldn’t be there for her.  Lamentably, I have a job that thrives on good weather and we’re in the middle of a long, steamy summer that’s much deserved for those of us who aren’t snowbirds.

I loved my Aunt Renie truly and dearly.  She was an amazing woman who touched all of us and we will never forget her.  Her pain is over now and the sad, selfish fact is that we must all go on without her.  Our memories keep her beautiful soul alive in all of us and her existence gives me hope that people are genuinely capable of being nice to each other, that relatives are capable of helping to shape their nephews and that True Love isn’t just a goal, it exists and it is indeed real.  She even gave me a parting gift on the way out the door: I’ll never forget my father Butch (or as she called him, Jimmy)’s birthday.  Thank you for everything you did and all of the lives you touched and all of the incredible food you cooked and baked and most of all for your unconditional love that I inherited just by being born into this family, Renie.  You had a wonderful life and I’m grateful that I was a part of it.

 

A nephew who doesn’t know the first thing about making a real pie crust,

Tom Waters

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‘Sweet Is The Smell Of Success’

July 11, 2011

After four long rewarding and exhausting months of promoting Mockery as well as Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind  in the newspapers, on the radio, on the web and in bookstores, coffee houses, bars and anywhere else that would have us, Mark McElligott and I have earned a much needed break for the rest of the summer.  Our little tour was tremendously successful despite spotty attendance, unusual time slots, double bookings (in two separate cases) and other Spinal-Tap-esque occurances.  Mockery is on track to outsell every book I’ve released so far and it’s been selling faster than any book I’ve sold so far.  My wife remarks that every book looks better and tighter than the last.

Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick will be fun to promote, but it’s going to be more of a Travelling Wilburys deal: getting together with old friends and just having a good time for the sake of it rather than running full steam ahead to make money.  I’ve decided to wait until September for any serious promotions but I may pop up in a few unusual places in August.  I was asked to be a celebrity bartender for the third week in August and I may accept.  Mark and I have already booked a convention show at the Marriott in October.  Aside from that, I’m at ease for the next month and a half.  I’ve never traditionally enjoyed promoting books in public settings but this time around was different.  Mark McElligott was a true joy to partner with and we had more laughs than I ever would have expected.  I think that carries through on the live concerts that we decided to post on Big Words Radio.

Brennan’s Bowery Bar was a smash hit last night.  We had a solid turnout and it’s the first reading I’ve ever had where the average book sale was three different copies.  We made a boatload of cash and I’m grateful for every penny we made.  Thanks are in order to Dave Shatzel, Eve Barbour, Jen O’Hare, Lynn O’Hare, Eve Barbour, Nicole Cook, Fred Peterson, Joshua Hanzlion, Jeff Collins and everyone else who turned out last night.  It was the best way to end a long and winding promotion and we’re going to head back to Brennan’s in the fall for the same deal.

As for the rest of the Mockery & Random Thoughts junket, thanks are in order, so here goes: Eve Barbour, Brian Platter, Stephanie Rhinehart, Ryan Miller, Jennifer Lysiak of Metro Source, Jolene Zanghi from Bee Group Newspapers, Brian Kahle, RD Pohl from the Buffalo News, Geoff Kelly from ArtVoice, Dee’s Firehouse, Don and Jon from Don’s Atomic Comics, Maryan’s, Nance Gardner Lang, the Lancaster Public Library, Dog Ears Bookstore in South Buffalo, Jonathan from Talking Leaves, Christy from Rust Belt Books, Tom and the rest of the gang at Finnan’s, Dave Waters, Dave Lopian, Duane Muth, Stockman’s Tavern and every single one of you who were kind enough to come out and see us.  It’s been a long strange trip and this tour of duty is finally over.

This autumn will be a whole different animal.  Mark McElligott will be joining me for some of the promotions while Dave Waters and JR Finlayson will be partnering up for others.  We’re setting our sights for larger territory and we won’t stop at any state line either.  We’re well equipped to take Buffalo by storm all over again and we’re popping out to Rochester, Alfred, Philadelphia, NYC and possibly Charlotte, NC if a few free plane tickets come our way.  This year has been an incredible turning point so far and the last ten are truly starting to pay off exponentially.

 

Thanks for being a part of it,

Tom Waters

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Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick: 30% Off Soft Launch Orders!

July 1, 2011

Here we go again…

It’s July 1st and (as promised), I’m proud to announce the heavily discounted soft launch of Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, my third collection of angry, funny and oversexed poetry.  While I wouldn’t say that this go round is tamer than Breathing Room Volume I and II, it is softer somehow.  I wrote the bulk of the book right before and right after my wedding, so there’s a soft sense of acceptance and inner peaceto the body of work that sets it apart from the other two books.  I’m very proud of the collection for the leap forward in originality as well as the design and the format.  For those of you willing to take a chance on something different, you won’t be disappointed.  From now until August (when I plan on promoting the book in Buffalo), Scorpion will be 30% off if you buy direct on lulu.com.  Here’s your quick link:

 

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/poke-the-scorpion-with-a-sharp-stick-selected-poems-2008-2011/16130225

 

After four solid months of interviews, press releases, and appearances for Mockery, I’m ready for a break.  Mark McElligott, Dave ‘The Real Deal’ Waters and I have one more outing at Brennan’s Bowery Bar next Sunday (The Brennan’s Boxed Trifecta) on Sunday, July 10th at 6 p.m. and then I’ve got a month off before we kick back into high gear.  I’ve never felt that summer was a good time to promote because there are too many other events going on to compete with, so we’ll be resting up and waiting out the season before we get right back into it this fall.

For those of you who helped to make Mockery my fastest-selling book, thank you.  It’s on target to be my best-selling humor collection to date by year’s end.  There’s a momentum to all of this that seems to be catching up to me this year in a good way.  Hopefully most of you will make the leap of faith over to Scorpion and join me for the second half of this year.  Things are only going to get better from here on out.  There’s a lot left to accomplish.

Enjoy your 4th of July and buy my new damned book!

Tom Waters

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‘Scorpion’ Rising, Icarus Ascends & Rust Belt Books On The Horizon

June 22, 2011

While Mockery is winding down and Mark McElligott’s Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind is still gaining momentum, I’ve been quietly preparing to go full steam ahead with promotions this fall with Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick.  Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios) and I finished the book in record time.  While I originally set a deadline for the final version of the book at August 1st, it’s already done.  You can buy the book in advance by clicking your way over to:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/poke-the-scorpion-with-a-sharp-stick-selected-poems-2008-2011/16069791

Please click the FB ‘Like’ tab to the right of the book and feel free to review, comment or rate the book while you’re there.  There’s a ten page preview of the contents on the page in order to give you a sneak peek at how the book looks.

Starting on July 1st (through the end of the month), I’ll be running a 30% off sale on lulu for those of you interested in buying the book online.  This should offset their shipping rates and make the book more affordable to those of you who live out of state who are interested in picking up the third poetry collection.  After that I’ll be doing a soft launch on Sunday, July 10th at Brennan’s Bowery Bar in Williamsville at 6 p.m. along with Mark McElligott and a live musical performance by Dave ‘The Real Deal’ Waters.  If you’re a former classmate from Clarence High School, it sounds as if the classes of ’92, ’93, ’94 and beyond will be dog piling into Brennan’s on the same day for an informal reunion.  At last count, there will be no less than 50 other alumni showing up, so this event is shaping up to be a real barn burner.  Signed First Edition copies of Poke The Scorpion, Mockery, Slapstick & Superego, Breathing Room Volume I & II, and If They Can’t Take A Joke will be available along with Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind by Mark McElligott and 12 Priests & 3 Gnomes by David Waters.

The hard launch for Poke The Scorpion will hit in August and Mark and I will start touring and promoting in Rochester, Buffalo, Alfred and beyond.  While I was apprehensive about releasing two of my own books in the same year, it was a necessary evil I had to carry out in order to devote the time and energy it’s going to take to bring Icarus On The Mend in on time for a fall 2012 launch as a numbered hardcover limited edition of no more than 50 copies.  I’ll be devoting at least six months to proofreading, editing and re-writing the manuscript so that it’s grammatically correct as well as entertaining from a pacing standpoint.  One year later in 2013 I’ll be retiring the hardcover format and launching two smaller volumes of the same book with the intention of releasing a third volume when I get older.  Somewhere in the interim I’ll release Travesty, a return to shorter form where my bombastic essays are concerned.

Mark McElligott and I will both be reading this Sunday at Rust Belt Books on Allen St. in the heart of downtown Buffalo at 5 p.m.  We may be a little late, so please be patient with us as we’re both driving from the suburbs.  We’re paying to rent the space, so attendance and book sales for this event will be crucial.  The turnout will determine whether I go back to Rust Belt books or not, so if you live downtown, make Sunday count for us please.  This is the first reading I’ve done at Rust Belt in almost a decade.  Mark is polished and primed and almost pitch perfect where his timing and delivery are concerned.  Stockman’s, Caz Coffee and Finnan’s were good practice for breaking his teeth on audience response and now he’s ready for prime time.  Look out, Buffalo, because we’re ready to make a sizeable entertainment dent in the collective populace for the rest of this year and we won’t stop until we win you over.

See you this Sunday,

Tom Waters

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Cheers & Jeers: Events As They Develop

June 8, 2011

Okay, here’s the rundown for this particular week…

 

Doubt It Publishing Author Mark McElligott will be reading selections from his breakout debut book Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind  this Saturday at Caz Coffee Café at 7 p.m. in South Buffalo.  Our turnout was less than ideal at Finnan’s Pub last Sunday, so it would be really nice to see some of you who might be remotely interested in supporting local arts actually show up.  While we both realize that the weather is nice out, we’re in the final stretch of a three month junket and we’re busting our asses to get his book out to a new audience.  If you live in (or near) South Buffalo and you’re free on Saturday, please show some support and stop out to see us at Caz Coffee Café.

Most marketing and PR experts would suggest that I shouldn’t complain about a lack of turnout because it makes me look whiny or it makes us look bad.  I simply don’t care.  Mark and I have both invested a great deal of time and money into publishing two books and promoting them and it seems as if (now that the weather has improved) most of you have no interest in discovering just how funny his book is.  Please prove me wrong.  Clear up your schedule, skip a forgettable trip to the beach or a laughable summer venue and come out to see something real.  If you’re the sort of person who needs a newspaper to tell you what you should be interested in or what you should spend your disposable income on, take a chance for once and discover the actual art scene in Buffalo versus the Reader’s Digest abridged version.  Copies of Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind will be available for $15.

On the whole I’ve been deeply disappointed with audience turnout for this junket.  I have no control over it and there’s no way to analyze it, but many of you have let us down.  It’s easier to do nothing than it is to do something, so take comfort in your complacency.  To those of you who continue to show up for the book launches, readings and signings and those of you kind enough to tell your friends, spend money at our scheduled venues and spend your hard earned money to support our work, we really appreciate it.  If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be able to continue creating and publishing new books.  If there were more people like you in Buffalo, there’s a strong possibility that we’d actually be able to make a living wage doing this and we’d be able to produce a larger body of work, but odds are that that will never happen since most people in Buffalo (again) need to be told what art is worth buying by their local media like lost and sluggish sheep.

I appreciate the cross section of you smart enough to make your own decisions and the fact that you march to the beat of your own drummer.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making your own informed decisions based on internal judgment instead of a deep-seated need for peer approval or a desire to have someone else tell you what is and isn’t entertaining.  If you receive this message via email, I understand that it’s infinitely easier to delete this message than it is to take the time to read it and react or respond to it, so for those of you who are reading this right now, thank you.  To those of you who reply or react by showing up to a reading, thank you even more.  I’ll get off my soap box now.

At the time of this writing it is now June 9th, so the Doubt It Publishing call for submissions is now wide open until November 1st.  Again, if you’re a local (Buffalo) writer and you have a completed manuscript or a draft in the realm of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or short stories, please send your manuscript in at: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com.  One of you will be chosen for publication in 2011 and I’ll give you the full force of my attention and publicity skills to ensure that we both turn a tidy profit on your brain trust in addition to setting up a slate of appearances and book signings.  If you’re willing to put in the work, so am I.

Thanks in large part to graphic designer extraordinaire Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios), Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick is coming along at a brisk pace.  The book should be available by August 1st at the rate we’re going, but I won’t count my chickens yet.  The format size is being developed so that it bridges Breathing Room Volume I and II.  The size of the book will be somewhere in between both, which says a lot about the content.  The cover looks gorgeous and I couldn’t be happier with the bold design choices that Brian has made for the interior.  For those of you daring enough to jump head first into a poetry book, you’re in for a pleasant surprise this fall.  JR Finlayson, David Waters and a host of other local poets and I will be touring throughout Buffalo after the festival and concert season in autumn to promote the book as well as other books.

This Sunday I’ll be returning to Think Twice Radio to interview broadcasting icon Brian Kahle for The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour along with local artist and blogger John Kindelan.  We’ll be talking about censorship, the line that’s blurred between advertising an investigative journalism and the current state of Buffalo broadcasting.  The conversation will be bold and uncompromising, but I’m sure you’ve come to expect that from me.  Your frequent (and often vocal) encouragement has molded me into the person I am today.

These are exciting times.  While my pace may be brisk and my candor unforgiving, it’s all because I’m building the framework for a larger plan.  The first ten years of my professional career as a writer are over.  I’m headlong into the next ten and the scope and landscape of a grander design is well underway.  For those of you willing to participate and play along, I’m eternally grateful.  As for the rest of you, you’re missing out on something very real and extremely fun.

 

Race you to next week,

Tom Waters

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A Few Acres Of Ground To Cover: New Books, New Shows & A Reality Check

May 29, 2011

What a productive week!  After telling multiple newspapers that I had no intention of writing an essay collection ever again, I found a way to write another essay collection: make it fun again.

Unlike any book I’ve written to date, it started with the title: Travesty.  My goal is to make every piece live up to the title of the book and to make sure that every single rant is shorter, funnier and more offensive than anything I’ve written to date.  I also set a few ground rules: nothing longer than three pages, every rant has to be written in one sitting and I can’t cover a topic I’ve covered so far.  I started last week with one rant about the supposed Rapture and haven’t stopped.  One third of the book is already done.  The only problem is that I have no idea when to release it.  Doubt It Publishing has a full dance card for the next two years, so I may have to piggyback it with the numbered hardcover release for Icarus On The Mend in the fall of 2012 and I’m leaning strongly towards that.

Pre-production on Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick (my third collection of poetry) is progressing at a rate that’s astonishing and well ahead of schedule.  Brian Platter (the graphic designer behind Six Shot Studios) has taken the bull by the horns and he’s tackled the book head on with a bold look, some daring choices for the title and content fonts and a beautiful presentation where the headers and footers are concerned.  For those of you who were trusting enough to make the leap along with me where Breathing Room Volume I and II were concerned, you won’t be disappointed.

The content has evolved since the original two poetry books to the point where I’m no longer aping my own heroes and I’ve developed my own voice where poems are concerned.  While it’s not necessarily a jumping off point, it is a progression, so we’re working overtime to create a size format that bridges the jump between Breathing Room Volume I and II.  If you buy this book this fall, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the growth.  Two major national literary magazines (The Chiron Review and Chronogram) have already gotten on board with three different poems that they’ll be publishing in short order.

I devoted a week to submitting the content to the top poetry trades in the country along with putting the final touches on the manuscript and it’s already paying off.  While poetry books don’t pay off as well as my rant collections, it’s a labor of love and something I would do whether I turned a profit or not.  This new book means a lot to me and Six Shot Studios is doing a spectacular job on the appearance.  Expect the specialty format this fall by the time Mark McElligott and I get very serious about touring on a regional scale.

Last night I reconnected with two dear friends in person for the first time in three years: Greg Sterlace and Paula Wachoviak (sp?).  Greg and Paula are back in town for a limited time and he’s taken back the reins for The Greg Sterlace Show, his wildly popular Time Warner program spanning back over the last ten years.  The results of the show taping were horrific and hilarious at the same time.  For those of you who catch it on TV, it’s the epitome of cringe comedy.  I’ll have a link for you in a week or two, but in the mean time, here’s a sneak preview of a small percentage of the wrongness at play here on the Mr. Ski Mask show that Mark McElligott and I taped almost a month ago.  Click your way over to:

http://sterlace.com/episodes/index.php/2011/04/the-greg-sterlace-show-832

And finally, there are two new belated episodes of The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour available online as well as for free on iTunes.  Almost a month after the actual in-store event (I had to pick up a new SD Card Reader), I hammered out the content and edited it for full-scale enjoyment this morning and posted these two abominations.  Here are your links and synopses:

Episode 61: ‘My balloon knot will stay firmly tied’

Tom kicks off a comic book promotion at Don’s Atomic Comices with a star studded cast of special guests including Carrie & Ron Gardner, Monster Matt, Terry Kimmel, John Kindelan, Michael Hoffert Jr. and Brian Platter.  Newcomer Brian Bogucki gets blindsided while Mark McElligott rolls with the punches.

To hear the show online click on the link below:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/282800/episode-61-my-balloon-knot-will-stay

Tom’s Atomic Bonus Round: ‘Parting Words’

Tom closes out an evening of hilarity and insanity by getting a few more cheap shots in at Terry Kimmel’s expense and dropping a few promotional plugs for once.

To hear the show online click on the link below:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/282797/tom-s-atomic-bonus-round-parting-words

-You can also conveniently subscribe to the show for free on iTunes by searching ‘Big Words Radio’ under the Podcast section as well as the Comedy listing.  The Literature category is a dead link that is no longer active, so please subscribe and the entire library will be at your command!

May was a horrible month for the show in terms of downloads and requests, so I implore you to visit the sites or subscribe to the show.  Without a noticeable increase in traffic I see no reason to keep devoting so much time to working on pre-show prep, research, questions, guests, recording time, production and posting time.  If you enjoy the show, please tell your friends, spread the word and download at will.  Big Words Radio has been booming since September of 2010 and it’s crushing to see the latest numbers.  For a show production that costs me so much in man hours without collecting any monetary revenue, I could really use your help.  Download, listen and tell your friends.  Unlike some other podcast hosts, I don’t cook my numbers.  Despite some recent turbulence that has zero bearing on this month’s numbers, I would really appreciate your ears (and your feedback) on the show.  I’ve spent four years slaving away on a free hobby and it would mean a lot to me if you pitched in and clicked a link or shared the show with the people you know.  All I ask for is a spreading contagion on my stats by the end of June.  Please help me out.

Mockery is selling better and faster than any book that preceded it, so thank you so much for that.  Every appearance has been positive and the book is breaking down barriers heretofore unheard of.  You have no idea how grateful I am for all of the people who have come on board and spread the word about my work and my book.

Three people in the same week commented or asked about the level of my output lately (a lot) and I wish I had an answer for all of you.   I’m in a good place.   The big picture is clicking comfortably into a lifestyle that leads me to bigger and better things along with the ability to write more and publish more often.  Things will only get better from here.  Doubt It Publishing is not a short term subsidy house or a slash and burn print on demand concept, it’s quickly becoming a reality.  I’m going to have to make a hard decision in November when it comes around to picking a new Author Of The Year to work with.

At the risk of sounding insincere or faux-humble, here’s what’s always guided and informed me: William Carlos Williams.  He was a popular poet, a family man and a practicing physician.  After a full overtime shift and an appropriate amount of time eating dinner and tucking his kids into bed and spending time with his wife, he added some hours to his waking existence to writing poems.  I’m an artist from Buffalo.  This is the only option that any of us have for expressing ourselves.  If your work means that much to you, make the time for it.  That’s it.  None of us are busier than William Carlos Williams was, so what’s your excuse?  If what you have to say and want to say is important, you’ll find a way to express it and make the time to do it above and beyond every other responsibility that you have.

I’m nobody special.  Writing is the way that I cope with a world that I can’t grasp or deal with without figuring it out on paper.  None of us are heroes or gods or legends and the majority of us do it because we need to.  Otherwise we’d lose our minds without the outlet.  All of this is work.  All of this is important and vital and crucial to me.  Whether it’s a mountain or a mole hill, this is what keeps me relatively sane.

Thank you so much for making it a lucrative side business.  In another ten years, I hope to make it a career.  Please help me work towards it.

Keeping busy,

Tom Waters

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Back On The Horse: Call For Submissions & Two Important Promotions This Week

May 16, 2011

As previously stated, Doubt It Publishing is rolling forward in June with this year’s round of submissions for our 2012 Author Of The Year.  From June 1st through November 1st I’ll be reviewing full length manuscript submissions for fiction, nonfiction and poetry.  Doubt It Publishing is looking for: humor, horror, short stories, self-help, memoirs, essays, rants, poetry and suspense. If your book is gripping and engaging I want to see it!  Send either a query, sample chapters or full manuscript to: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com.

There is no reading fee or entry fee of any kind.  The only criteria is that you must reside in the Buffalo area and possess a talent for writing along with a willingness to work hard promoting your book when it comes out next year.  As 2011 Author Mark McElligott knows, marketing and campaigning for his book (Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind) is every bit as important as writing it.  You can review the Author Agreement details at http://www.doubtitpublishing.blogspot.com or by joining the open Doubt It Publishing group on Facebook.  If you know someone who’s working on a book, please pass the word along.  Again, I am only picking (and working with) one author per year so that I can give them my undivided attention as well as the full brunt of my networking, marketing and media experience.  If you have any additional questions, feel free to email me at: bigwordsmalbag@yahoo.com.

Getting back to Mark McElligott, he chose to promote alongside me shortly after I launched Mockery, so while I’m starting to wind down on appearances for my book he’ll be taking the baton and running with it in the coming months.  This Thursday I’ll be reading and signing at Talking Leaves Books on 3158 Main St. from 7 p.m. (SHARP!) to 8 p.m.  Talking Leaves is another venue very close to my heart because it’s local, I’ve done a promotion there for almost every book for the last decade and it’s a great store.  Somehow Jonathan has a knack for stocking the ONE Bukowski book that I don’t own every time I visit.  If you like poetry, they’ve got one of the largest selections in the tri-state area and they feature a comprehensive and diverse selection of local authors.

This Saturday, Mark McElligott and I will both be reading at Stockman’s Tavern on 9870 Transit Rd. in Swormville (between Amherst and Lockport) from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Stockman’s is a great bar with a great crowd, so please mark your calendar and make the time to come out and join us.  This will be Mark’s first full-length reading, so please join me in welcoming him and his incredibly funny new book Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind.  Copies of Mockery and Random Thoughts will be limited, so either show up early or buy both on http://lulu.com  for the low low price of $15.

I’ll see you out on the town this week.  Ladies and gentleman, start your submissions!

Thanks,

Tom Waters

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Elston Takes The Gold, Mockery Sells Through & A Few Surprise Books Launching…

May 11, 2011

The ArtVoice 2011 Best Of Buffalo Awards came and went and Jon Elston (the resident playwright for the Road Less Travelled Theater Company) won for Best Writer.  To be honest, there’s no one I’d rather lose to.  Jon’s a talented and prolific writer in addition to being a great guy and we’ve known each other too long to let something as petty as an awards show get in the way of our friendship.  Congratulations are long overdue for Jon and his accolades are well deserved.  I suppose I’ll just have to campaign harder and start earlier next year when it comes to AV’s poll process.

On to more pressing business and the importance of timing, though.  A funny thing happened on the way to the Caz Coffee reading: I checked my inventory and somehow I’ve gotten down to two remaining copies of Mockery.  The book has performed so well for the initial slate of launch events that my first payload is depleted.  The book is doing very well and it’s selling a lot faster than I expected, surpassing the break even mark (recouping production and design costs) and far exceeding it.  More copies are on order and they’ll be in stock in time for the Talking Leaves Main reading next Thursday (7 p.m.) as well as the reading and signing at Stockman’s Tavern with Mark McElligott on the 21st (7 p.m.).  If you want or need a copy before then, you can pick one up at either Talking Leaves location or order direct from my distributor at http://www.lulu.com.

As far as book releases go, I’ve always tried to release no more than one of my own books for year.  That policy is changing.  With the amount of people who have voiced their interest in the autobiography (Icarus On The Mend), there’s another side project that’s been scooted front and center in order for me to release an Icarus limited-run numbered hardcover in the fall of 2012 (50 copies) followed by a two volume trade paperback launch in 2013.  The manuscript for the memoirs is massive, and it’ll take no less than six months to proof, edit and revise.  After promoting Mockery and doing some light piggyback promotions in the fall with Mark McElligott, I’ll be blocking out some time to dig my heels in and get the work done.

This week I finalized the structure and the basic manuscript for Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick, my third book of poems.  Unlike Breathing Room Volume I and II, it’s a step in a different direction: an original one.  While both Breathing Rooms were an homage to the people who inspired me to write poetry (Charles Bukowski, e.e. cummings, Rosemary Koethe and Tracy Zullo, respectively), Scorpion shows evidence of an emerging, original voice.  Like any writer (and much in the same manner in which I started out writing essays), I aped my favorites.

The wake of that process has a momentum of its own, and the result is an amalgamation of some standard tricks along with quite a few new ones.  The Breathing Room  books were never blockbusters in terms of sales, but the content was important to me, and they’ve sold slowly and steadily enough to warrant a third collection.  The response I’ve gotten from those of you who enjoy poetry as well as those of you brave enough to try something new has been overwhelmingly positive encouraging.

The only speed bump in working on the layout was dealing with comments from many of you that Volume I: Free Verse was the best book I’ve ever written.  How in the hell do you top a comment like that?  With hard work, frequent revisions and a liberal dose of elbow grease.  Much like the pre-production on Mockery, I’ve gone out of my way to creative a cohesive, seamless book that can be read in one sitting.  Anything that didn’t feel right got tossed and anything written after the initial draft that felt like it belonged alongside the source material was added.  I hope that you’ll be pleased with the results.  Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick is slated for a September release this year.  I’ve already got an artist working on the cover art (mixed media) and Brian Platter from Six Shot Studios will be working on the interior design and cover layout.  More details as we get closer to the launch.

Meanwhile Mr. Mark McElligott is doing quite well with his Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind.  His debut collection of rants broke even the week it came out (within two days of sales) and the word of mouth on how funny the book is has been generating a lot of referral sales.  While my humor leans towards the universal, sarcastic and psychotic, his headspace is a lot more user friendly.  Mark’s manuscript won me over with his unique voice, his left-field observations and his bravery in the face of self-deprecation.  It’s paying off.  Doubt It Publishing’s first release from a single author is a hit.  The book will continue to reach new heights (and sales records) once we actually begin promoting it next Saturday at Stockman’s.

And finally, I’d like to work a plug in for an old friend and comrade.  JR Finlayson (whom you may remember from the Monsters Of Verse) has released Multiples Of Eleven, his first full-length collection of poems for the clever price of $11.11.  To buy a copy of the book, click on over to:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/multiples-of-eleven/15597052?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1

With one new poetry book out and another one on the way could there be a Monsters Of Verse revival?

I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.

Have a great week and I’ll keep you posted,

Tom Waters

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ArtVoice’s 2011 Best Of Buffalo Nominations/Mockery Promotions Thus Far…

May 1, 2011

After a turbulent week of surprises, promotions and nominations, it’ll be nice to relax for a few days.  The first month of promotions for Mockery is over leaving three months and change for the rest of the scheduled readings and signings.

The Lancaster Public Library reading went off without a hitch and even though the Sabres were busy losing the playoffs, we still had a great turnout with plenty of books sold.  Fellow Monsters Of Verse alumni JR Finlayson made a surprise appearance and read a few selections from his upcoming book Multiples Of Eleven (due out soon).  The evening took an unexpected turn when a few members of the crowd requested (and encouraged) a few passages about manic depression, so I read a piece from First Person, Last Straw along with some of the Jekkyl & Hyde poems from both Breathing Rooms.  Thanks to everyone who attended for making it such an intimate and interesting evening.  I’ll definitely keep the Lancaster Library in mind should Mark McElligott and I decide to promote locally in the fall.

On the same day, Minnesota podcasting great Gary Holdsteady and I recorded Episode 60 of The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour.

You can listen to the show by clicking here:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/278282/episode-60-i-was-hoping-to-get

-Or (as always) you can subscribe to the show for free in the podcast section of iTunes under the ‘Comedy’ category.

Gary and I have been great friends for years and this was one of the few episodes where I didn’t work off of notes or pre-formulated questions.  Our rapport (and his conversational candor) was strong enough that we ad-libbed the entire show with great results.  To hear Gary’s podcast you can listen on iTunes by searching ‘Independant Stream’ or you can listen online by clicking:

http://independentstream.podomatic.com

Thursday proved shocking when ArtVoice announced their 2011 Best Of Buffalo nominees.  Somehow all of you managed to get me on the ballot for their Best Writer category.  The winner hasn’t been announced yet, but regardless of the outcome, I’m deeply grateful to all of you who voted in addition to every one of you who have supported my work for the last ten years by buying a book, making a reading or spreading the word.  I don’t put a lot of stock in contests, but a lot of people look to them to decide what’s hot and what’s not and with the new book out, it can’t hurt to campaign a little bit more.  Keep your fingers crossed and I guess we’ll see who takes home the gold soon enough.

Last night we had a four hour marathon at Don’s Atomic Comics in Depew for ‘Tom’s Atomic Comic Giveaway’ with special guests Mark McElligott (Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind) and Michael Hoffert Jr. (host of ‘It Came From The Longbox’ on http://www.thinktwiceradio.com).  Don and I have done a promotion for every book since Soup To Nuts and his shop is always a favorite destination during the tour.  The sale went great, I recorded a lot of great audio and a few other surprise guests turned up including Monsters Of Verse alumn Carrie Gardner, Monster Matt, John Kindelan and Brian Platter from Six Shot Studios.

The events for this book have been wildly unpredictable compared to previous years.  Te ones I’ve expected to do well haven’t and the ones that I thought would be a waste of time turned out to be anything but.  It’s hard to predict an outcome for anything in Buffalo with so many conflicting events (sporting and otherwise) and such a melting pot of cultural tastes.  Mark McElligott and I are going to keep plugging away until the end of July at a steady pace with our heads up.  Next Saturday (May 7th) I’ll be reading and signing copies of Mockery at the Caz Coffee Café on Abbott Rd. in South Buffalo at 7 p.m.  If you’re free that night I’d love to see you there.

Resting up for the rest of the week,

Tom Waters

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Mockery Live At Maryan’s/Talking Leaves Now In Stock!

April 19, 2011

Saturday was a banner reading for Mockery at Maryan’s.  Even after a losing Sabres playoff game, the crowd was into the material right from the jump and the laughs were legion within minutes.  I’ve been telling Mark McElligott (who’s gearing up for his own slate of readings soon enough) that the events you’re positive will do well often don’t and the ones you never expect to succeed end up surprising you.  It’s always a crap shoot and you can’t predict any one promotion, so the best thing to do is try everything once and stick with what works.  Due to the great audio (and the great crowd), I’ve posted two separate concert shows up on Mevio as well as iTunes.  Here are your synopses:

‘In The Crease: Mockery Live At Maryan’s’: Tom takes to the stage after a losing playoff game for the Buffalo Sabres at Maryan’s in Depew and by some miracle manages to win the crowd over.

-To hear the above episode on Mevio, click on this link:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/276964/in-the-crease-mockery-live-at-maryan

 

‘Love Those Water Boys’: Dave ‘The Real Deal’ Waters rocks out his first live musical set in almost two years at Maryan’s in Depew.

-To hear Dave’s half of the concert, click here:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/276963/love-those-water-boys

As always, you can subscribe to The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour on ‘the iTunes’ by searching Big Words Radio and clicking on the show listed under Comedy.  If you’re a current subscriber, then you already have both episodes!

Thanks so much to Dave ‘The Real Deal’ Waters, Nance, Sam, Val, Mike and the rest of the spectacular staff as well as the crowd at Maryan’s.  If every reading and signing went that well I’d never stop touring!  There are no promotional events this week since it’s Easter week, but I’ll be gearing back up again next Tuesday the 26th at the Lancaster Public Library (7:30 p.m.) and then Don’s Atomic Comics on Saturday, April 30th for my Tom’s Atomic Comic Giveaway promotion from 8 p.m. to midnight!  The book promotions at Don’s always have a special place in my heart because a) I’ve done something there for every single book I’ve released, b) it’s always a great time and c) I’ll make a boat load of cash!  To hear how the last promotion went (Tom’s Atomic Poetry Cliffhanger), you can click on:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/166205/episode-xxx-tom-s-atomic-poetry-cliffhanger

and:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/166196/tom-s-atomic-poetry-cliffhanger-the-shocking

And finally, Mockery is now available at both Talking Leaves books locations, so if you live in the city and you can’t make it out to any of the suburban events, feel free to pick up the new book at the Main Street or Elmwood locations.  Talking Leaves has been another long time friend for every single book over the years.  While it’s a hassle to set up some promotions, Atomic Don and Jonathan at Talking Leaves have never needed more than a phone call to iron out a date and time and for that I’m grateful.

I hope you all enjoy your Easter and perhaps I’ll see you out on the road next week!

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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Wrapping Up Loose Ends/Semi-Retirement

April 14, 2011

There’s a lot of new business this week, so I’ll try to cover it all quickly and efficiently.  First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for me in ArtVoice’s 2011 Best Of Buffalo polls. Regardless of the outcome, I truly appreciate everything that all of you have done for me over the years.  You’ve all encouraged my tantrums, supported my work and continued to stand behind me every step of the way.  There is no way to properly express my gratitude for everything that all of you in the Buffalo community (and beyond) have done.  Thank you for riding along with me through all of the peaks and valleys.  I won’t get my hopes up about all this awards business, but I guess we’ll find out together.

Secondly, I’m incredibly proud to announce the early release of comedic ingénue Mark McElligott’s book Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind from Doubt It Publishing, the little publishing house that can and will.  Mark’s a remarkable talent with a one-of-a-kind sense of humor and I’m looking forward to introducing his comedy to newer and larger audiences in Buffalo and beyond.  To buy an early edition of his book, feel free to click on the quick link:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/random-thoughts-from-a-broken-mind/15436437?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1

Mark will be along for the ride this Saturday at Maryan’s at 7 p.m. to show his support.  The two of us will be riding each other’s coat tails for the next three months and then some, so please pop out and give him a warm welcome.  You can either get behind his work now or hop on the bandwagon mid-summer after his work has been lauded and praised by most of the right critics and crowds in Buffalo.  Either way, Mark and I will be storming your doorstep to wring the belly-laughs right out of you.  Support local and hop on this particular book tour not because newspaper a, b or c tell you it’s the hip thing to do but because you can formulate an opinion on your own.  To read a few of Mark’s sample essays, click on over to:

http://www.randomthoughtsbrokenmind.blogspot.com

And finally, on to a tiny bit of nasty business.  After almost a month of provocation from two individuals recently, I was forced to take action.  After facing the consequences of their actions, they had a sudden crisis of conscience.  Let’s get something straight if we can.  I’m getting older.  I’m slowing down, time is at a premium and if it were up to me, I’d be much happier to be left alone and move away from the whole ‘waging war with fill in the blank’ phase of my life.

I’m a married man who’s 35 with ten books under my belt, a publishing house, a radio show that’s a hell of a lot of fun to do and a loyal audience.  I have nothing left to prove and I don’t pick fights or jump into pissing contests for the sake of pride.  As a blanket statement for those of you who wish to attract my immediate and undivided attention be you a publication, radio show, web zine, individual or an author in your own right I beg you to listen carefully when I say this:

Please don’t for both our sakes.

Think like a journalist, gather your facts and draw an informed opinion before you make the hasty decision of taking a run at me.  My fuse gets a lot longer as I get older but that doesn’t mean I won’t employ the full brunt of my investigative knowledge to maximum benefit if you get my dander up.  Kindly leave me alone.  If you want to exorcize your inadequacies or any other number of neuroses on someone rather than seeking therapy, be smart and don’t…pick…me.

I would truly like to be left alone.  Aside from the book promotions, I’m trying to move further away from any kind of public presence, personality or finely tuned image.  Hopefully in five or ten more years my family and I will have a house in the country that’s no less than forty five minutes away from a normal shopping center where I can listen to Bob Dylan, drink whiskey on my porch and an incoming phone call will be a major event.  Please keep this in mind should you choose to wage a war against me.  Poor etiquette will no longer (nor has it ever been) tolerated.

That’s it for today.  Sorry for the negative backlash, but this had to be addressed.

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio Episode 59: A Big Basket Of Shameful Joy

April 11, 2011

I’m going to apologize right off the bat for behaving myself.  I respect writer/artist Mark Kalesniko and I value my friendship with Atomic Don too much to batter either of them vocally on the show.  While I goof around on most of the shows, I played this one straight and we had fun despite my apparent professionalism.  Here’s your synopsis:

 

Episode 59: A Big Basket Of Shameful Joy

Tom dials up Mark Kalesniko (the writer and artist for the new book Freeway by Fantagraphics) along with returning co-host Atomic Don to talk about Asian women, working for Disney and ‘the acid shits’. Diets are changed, beers are consumed and Mark plays along with the boys like a champ.

 

 

To hear the show in full audio quality, click on over to:

http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html

 

To hear all 81 episodes including the new one along with bonus clips, out-takes and additional episodes, click over to:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

You can also subscribe for free to The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour on ‘the iTunes’ by searching ‘Big Words Radio’ in the Podcasts section.  Dial it up and rate high, folks!

 

 

Thanks to Mark Kalesniko and Atomic Don for rolling with the punches.  Thanks are again in order to producer Richard Wicka for putting up with/dealing with my horrendous artistic temperament before, during and after the show.

With a recent cancellation for my May show, I’m putting a call out for a new guest!  If you’re a local artist, musician, writer, painter, etc., now would be the ideal time to get ahold of me.  Kindly send me a query email at: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com.  The Big Words I Know By Heart One Man Mobile Unit will be taping in about two or three weeks, so speak now or get lost in the vacuum.  If you have an observable talent and a small degree of conversational savvy, now’s the time to let me know!

That’s all for today.  I’ve got a few more aces up my sleeve later this week, but I’m saving them for the time being.

Talk to you soon,

Tom Waters

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‘Tom Waters Mocks You’ in ArtVoice Daily, AV’s ‘Best Of Buffalo’ Awards

April 3, 2011

Artvoice Managing Editor Geoff Kelly was kind enough to punch up a quick and engaging blurb (with cover photo) about the new book online for their ‘ArtVoice Daily’ section.  To view Geoff’s write-up (with one of the more scathing samples from the book), click over to:

http://blogs.artvoice.com/avdaily/2011/04/01/tom-waters-mocks-you/

Thank you to Geoff and ArtVoice for the wonderful mention.  And again, I’m asking all of you to take the time and (if you’re willing), vote for me for Best Writer and Best Radio Personality in ArtVoice’s ‘Best Of Buffalo’ Awards.  Every little bit of promotion helps for Mockery and AV has a lock on the downtown Buffalo audience.  Please consider me for these two crucial categories by logging in at:

http://best.artvoice.com

This isn’t an ego thing.  I’ve never officially ‘run’ for either category before, but with the new book out, winning (or even being considered) would be a great help.  And finally, if you’d like to hear ‘Stop The Press!’, my interview with Geoff Kelly from Big Words Radio (way back in August of 2008), click over to:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/164954/episode-ix-stop-the-press

Have a great week and I’ll talk to you all soon,

Tom

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Commence Mockery in 3, 2…

March 31, 2011

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be embarking on a three month promotional junket for Mockery, what may be my final essay collection.  After a short break to allow ample time to focus on Mark McElligott’s Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind, we’re taking our act on the road to Alfred, Rochester and parts unknown.  I feel strangely peaceful about the upcoming launch and subsequent events.  Two interviews hit Buffalo this week with Metro Source Lancaster and the Lancaster, Depew, Cheektowaga and Clarence Bees.  To read Jennifer Lysiak’s interview,

 

click here: http://www.metrowny.com/news/900-442-Waters_releases_ninth_book_April_1.html

 

For an excerpt of Jolene Zanghi’s interview,

click here:  http://www.clarencebee.com/news/2011-03-30/Lifestyles/Making_a_Mockery_of_pop_culture_human_behavior.html

 

The full Bee interview will be available in four weeks.  In the mean time, you can pick it up on stands throughout Western New York.  Night Life magazine is also running some additional press about the impending launch this week.  A big thank you goes out to Jennifer and Jolene for taking the time to sit down with me at Dee’s to talk about the book, the promotional events and what I’ve got planned for the future.

Tomorrow is the official launch for the book at Dee’s Firehouse on 4628 Broadway in Depew at 7 p.m. with special musical guests One Hot Minute.  If you’ve been to a reading before, then you know how wacky and unpredictable each one can be compared to the next.  If you haven’t, then I look forward to winning the rest of you over.  I’m going to try to read something different at every event so that if you come to more than one you’ll be appropriately entertained.  In addition to having a limited amount of First Edition copies on deck for sale ($15), these are the other books I’ll have on hand:

-If They Can’t Take A Joke (HC) $20

-Breathing Room Volume I and II (Trade Paperback) $15 each

Voices From The Herd: An Anthology For Buffalo, NY (Trade Paperback) $13

 

I plan on stocking Slapstick & Superego at other upcoming events but I wanted to make sure I had a decent stockpile of Mockery to start off with.

Throughout April I’ll be contacting more of the local press and setting up more radio interviews on the FM dial.  Please help me to make this launch (and the subsequent readings) events to remember.  The turnout we’re expecting so far sounds excellent. As we transition from my book to Mark’s, I hope that you’ll give him the same level of attendance and laughter that you’d give me.  For those of you willing to take a chance on a new author, you’ll find Mark’s collection to be every bit as funny as anything I could come up with.

Thanks for all your support and encouragement over the years.  A huge thanks goes to Dee, Kathy and the rest of the madding crew at Dee’s Firehouse for making tomorrow’s launch such an easy venue to schedule and for buying multiple copies of the new book in one fell swoop.  Thanks are also in order to Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios) for the great promotional flier and to One Hot Minute for performing tomorrow night.  There are some great shows lined up for the spring and summer.  I can’t wait to see you there!

 

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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It Begins! Radio Appearances, Print Interviews & A Very Important Birthday…

March 21, 2011

Okay…

There’s a lot of ground to cover this week, so I’ll try and hit all the bases.  This Wednesday, Mark McElligott and I will be high-tailing it out to Lockport to make an appearance on Kahle & Co. on 1340 AM (WLVL) at noon.  We’ll be talking about both our books with my longtime pal Brian Kahle.

ArtVoice has started taking ballots for their 2011 Best Of Buffalo Awards.  I’ve never really rallied the troops for this contest before, but with a new book literally right around the corner, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, so please take the time to log on and vote at:

www.best.artvoice.com

If you’d be kind enough to vote for me for the Best Writer and Best Local Radio Personality, I’d be deeply grateful.  I cast some votes for my favorite bars, comic shops and local artists while I was there, too.

The Mockery Book launch is NEXT FRIDAY at 7 p.m. at Dee’s Firehouse in Depew with special musical guests One Hot Minute!  I really hope to see you out there so you can meet Kathy (one of the best bartenders in Buffalo), Dee and the rest of the gang!  First edition copies of Mockery will be available for the low, low price of $15, so show up on time because they’re going to go fast.

Interviews will be hitting Lancaster Source as well as The Lancaster Bee by the end of this week.  I’ve got a new My View bombshell hitting the Buffalo News either by the end of this month or the beginning of April.  This isn’t exactly a quiet week in terms of promotions, but this is the calm before the storm.  This is the last week of quiet private life (more or less) before a four month junket of readings, signings and book promotions for two books that are definitely going to do very well for Doubt It Publishing.

And finally, my dear friend Gregg Sansonne is celebrating his 50th birthday this Saturday at Griffin’s Irish Pub on 81 Abbott. Rd. in South Buffalo at 8 p.m.  Ten years ago I was starting off with Night Life magazine writing bar reviews when we ran into each other by dumb coincidence while he was starting out as a tremendously talented musician at Route 66 (now closed) downtown.  His performance bowled me over.  His piano playing and his vocals amazed me and they still do.  Please join me, my wife and the rest of Gregg’s friends for such a monumental milestone.  Gregg has been a wonderful person to a lot of people and it’ll be nice to share the occasion with him.

Have a great week and I hope to see you all soon,

Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio Episode 58: ‘Your Own Personal White-Out’

March 20, 2011

Okay, this episode was just plain wrong, there’s no two ways about it.  This month (for the radio show) has been a real rollercoaster ride of comedy between the ‘Huge Stuff I Rember From Repetition Dude On The Move Station’, and the comedic brutality unleashed upon Mark McElligott.  It’s in everyone’s best interests if we all just have some quiet time to ourselves to reflect on what we’ve done and who we’ve wronged until Fantagraphics journeyman Mark Kalesniko enters stage right in April to talk about his new masterpiece Freeway. For the time being, here’s your synopsis:

Episode 58: ‘Your Own Personal White-Out’

Tom sits down with Doubt It Publishing Author Of The Year Mark McElligott (Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind) and tears him a new one.  In addition, they make some cheap wisecracks about previous co-host Terry Kimmel, statutory rape and the mentally handicapped.  All in all a good show.

To hear the new show this instant click your way to victory at:

http://www.bigwordsmevio.com

-or you can just subscribe right now for free by searching ‘big words radio’ at ‘the iTunes’ store and clicking on the Comedy listing.

The show has toned down a bit in previous months so it was refreshing to have a guest on who I was positive about being able to handle a relentless barrage of jokes that were far beyond wrong.  This is literally the worst show I’ve done on an offensiveness scale since July of 2009, so it was a treat to take the kid gloves off and go to town on an unsuspecting mark (in this case, Mark).

A big thanks goes out to Mark McElligott for being such a great sport.  In addition to getting a taste of what you can expect from his upcoming debut collection Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind, the two of us will be hitting Buffalo with a vengeance this summer to promote both of our books together in a reading frenzy.  Please click, download, subscribe, laugh, rate high and enjoy.  I’m taking a well-deserved break from podcasting until mid-April.

Enjoying long, sticky white donuts,

Tom Waters

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Spring Event Calendar For Mockery and Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind from Doubt It Publishing

March 15, 2011

While these appearances are far from final, here are the events we’re currently looking at for April through June.  When I add more dates, I’ll update this list.  Mark your calendars and get ready to laugh, folks!

Friday April 1st, 7 p.m. to midnight: Mockery Book Launch at Dee’s Firehouse, 4628 Broadway Ave., Depew 651-0711.  Reading and signing at 7 p.m. followed by a live performance by One Hot Minute (Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band) at 8 p.m.  First edition copies of Mockery by Tom Waters available for $15.

Saturday, April 16th, 7 p.m., Mockery Book Signing at Maryan’s, 4921 Broadway, Depew  683-0590.  Live musical performance by David Waters (Whiskey Suicide).

Tuesday, April 26th, 7:30 p.m.  Reading and Signing with author Tom Waters (Mockery) at the Lancaster Public Library, 5466 Broadway, Depew

Saturday, April 30th, 8 p.m. to midnight.  Tom’s Atomic Comic Giveaway! at Don’s Atomic Comics, 6354 Transit Rd., Depew 684-5981.  Buy a copy of Mockery by Tom Waters and get a free back issue.  Midnight madness discounts on graphic novels and collectibles.  Special Guests Josh Tonn (Costumed Crimefighter Comics, Stupid Funny Comics), Mark McElligott (Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind) and Kyle Kaczmarzcyk (The Red Eye, Pulp, Monster Matt’s Bad Jokes Volume I).

Saturday, May 7th, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Caz Coffee Café, 668 Abbott Rd., Buffalo 825-7806.  Reading and Signing with Tom Waters, author of the humor collection Mockery.

Thursday, May 19th, 7 p.m., Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main St., Buffalo 837-8554.  Reading and Signing with Tom Waters, author of the humor collection Mockery.

Saturday, May 21st, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Mockery Book Reading and Signing at Stockman’s Tavern (9870 Transit Rd., Depew 688-9896) featuring Tom Waters with live music by musician Chris Squier.

Saturday, June 11th, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Caz Coffee Café, 668 Abbott Rd., Buffalo 825-7806. Reading and Signing with Mark McElligott, author of the humor collection Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind.

Sunday, June 26th, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Doubt It Publishing presents a book reading by Mark McElligott (Random Thoughts From A Broke Mind) and Tom Waters (Mockery) at Rust Belt Books (202 Allen St., Buffalo, 885-9535).  Admission is free, signed first editions of both books available.

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Mockery Book Launch Flyer by Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios)

March 5, 2011

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Miscellaneous

February 8, 2011

            A lot of projects are in the planning stages currently and it’s more a matter of juggling and strategy than inspiration and execution.  Book 9 (Mockery) is in the last legs of pre-production and designer Eve Barbour and I are aiming for a hard April launch.  I’ve always been fond of doing book launches on April Fool’s Day (which falls on a Friday this year), so don’t be surprised if you hear about a large public event and bookstore insertion then.  At $15, it’s the lowest launch price of any rant collection I’ve ever released, so I’ll be shooting for volume rather than profit margin. 

            After that, Mark McElligott and I will be going into pre-production on his book, Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind while we schedule appearance dates at the same time.  We’re looking at a summer release date for his book around the same price point.  While Mark’s never published a book before, he’s got a diverse back ground in music, cartooning and stand-up comedy that should translate well on stage once he gets up and running.

            As for the radio show, Eisner and Harvey award winner Dylan Horrocks (Hicksville) will be talking to me and co-host Terry Kimmel on Thursday, February 24th.  Mark McElligott returns as my guest in March and in April I’ll be discussing the hilarious and often controversial books of Mark Kalesniko (Alex, Mail Order Bride). 

            After agonizing over how and when to release the autobiography (Icarus On The Mend), I’m leaning towards publishing a limited print run of 100 hardcover first editions in 2012 for around $29.95 with no complimentary copies for the local or national media included.  Everyone who knows about the book wants to get their hands on it right away, so I might as well give you all what you want.  Once those hundred are gone, I’ll release two volumes of trade paperbacks for $15 each with complementing photo negative covers and possibly an additional chapter. 

            As for the third poetry collection (Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick), I’m not sure how to gauge demand for the book, so don’t be surprised if it’s released alongside one of the autobiography print runs.  While both Breathing Rooms reached (and exceeded) the 100 copy mark, they’re more a labor of love than a concerted business decision.  Poetry is a tough sell in any market, so I was glad to net over $2000 on the first two in the first year.  The third collection will be the last for a long time, so hopefully readers will enjoy the aftermath to Breathing Room by realizing that the content is new and unusual, not just scraps left over from the first two books. 

            I’ve never had this much material on the slate before at any one time.  Hopefully by 2013 I can buy back the rights to Born Pissed and Zany Hijinx, relaunch them with better cover designs, tighter editing and a lower price point.  If there’s one single piece of advice I can offer budding writers, it’s this: Don’t publish with America House.  There’s no reason why you should give 90% of your royalties away to a publisher for a manuscript that you put 100% of your effort and inspiration into. 

            It’s a bittersweet situation to be in.  I’ve got three years before I have to write another word.  I’m considering writing a novel, but for the time being I’m going to rest and relax since this is the calm before the promotional storm.  Thank you for reading and supporting my work.  People often ask me ‘Do you make any money off of your books?’ and my answer is always that I wouldn’t keep putting them out if I didn’t.  From a fiscal standpoint, 2011 is going to be a great year to make money while making people laugh at the same time.

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Big Words Radio Presents The Busted Stuff Boxed Trifecta!

January 28, 2011

Yesterday was an incredible day across the board.  Dave Abbatoy, Cynthia McCaffrey, co-host Mark McElligot and I really had a blast together recording the interview portion of the show at my Lancaster grotto.  Some rough questions were asked and they weathered them out like champs.  I got both of their last names wrong and they brushed right past it like true professionals.

Shortly after taping the interview, the four of us skedaddled down to Dee’s Firehouse in Depew, where Dave and Cynthia gave a once-in-a-lifetime performance to a packed house.  Former co-hosts Zombie Chris, Diabetes Dave and Charles ‘Chezzie’ Amabile were all in attendance along with a large cast of good friends and thirty patrons.

 

Here are your synopses:

 

Episode 54: Maccatoy Vs. Nixon

In less than an hour, Tom manages to f#*$k up both Dave and Cynthia (Busted Stuff’s) last names while offending everyone in the room in addition to his wife.  Pitch-hitter co-host Mark McElligott delivers the ‘opening shot’ and the gang gets misty about Buffalo music while Tom considers stapling the back of his wife’s head.

 

Episode 53: Busted Stuff Live At Dee’s Firehouse (pt.I): The Devil Went Down To Depew

Busted Stuff opens with a scorching set to an increasingly packed house at Dee’s Firehouse on Thursday, January 27th, 2010.  Tom and his cohorts manage to drain four pitchers, a score of finger sandwiches, a double of wings and more than a few doubles of whiskey.  The crowd rejoices.

 

Episode 52: Busted Stuff Live At Dee’s Firehouse (pt.II): Bringing It All Back Home

Dave Abbatoy and Cynthia McCaffrey bring it home for the two point conversion with a once in a lifetime set list of covers, fan favorites, Tom’s favorite version of Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes’ and a live version of their award-winning Live Lake Local Music Compilation song ‘Pray To Rain’.

 

A huge thanks goes out to Dave and Cynthia from Busted Stuff for contributing so much of their time and talent to a free show as well as my off-color sense of humor.  Thanks also to Dee, Jim, Cathy, Melissa and the rest of the gang at Dee’s Firehouse for hosting their event at their fantastic bar and restaurant.  If local bands or artists contact me in the future (and believe me, they will), I’d love to do it again at Dee’s.  Thanks are in order to Mark McElligott for co-hosting with a week’s notice and everyone who showed up for the show, ordered drinks and food en masse and helped to make the night one to remember.  So when can you listen to these historic episodes on ‘the iTunes’, you may ask?  They’re already posted.  I rushed home after the show, produced all three and uploaded them before I conked out for the night, so search ‘Big Words Radio’ on iTunes (the show listed under Comedy, NOT Literature), subscribe and rate high!  If you don’t have ‘the iTunes’, you can just as easily hear all three shows over at:

www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

Have a great rest of the week and I’ll talk to you all again in late February when I interview graphic artist/writer Dylan Horrocks with co-host Terry Kimmel!

Tom Waters

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2011: Veni, Vedi, Veci (‘I came, I saw, I conquered’)

January 2, 2011

Happy New Year everybody!

            2011 is going to be an incredibly busy year for myself and Doubt It Publishing.  I’m not even sure where to begin, but I guess we’ll proceed chronologically.

            The deadline for Doubt It Publishing’s Author Of The Year has come and gone and it’s time to make the announcement.  I’m proud to let you all know that I’ve chosen Mark McElligott’s Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind for publication this year.  It’s an uproariously funny collection of hilarious, ‘out there’ rants that made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions.  His sense of humor is a blend of Woody Allen, Dave Attell and Steve Martin.  He’s goofy, perverse and tremendously talented and we’re both looking forward to showcasing his work to a much larger audience this spring!    

            I’ve got a full slate of new bar assignments for the Buffalo News Gusto that I’ll be knocking out at a rate of one bar per week.  After reviewing The Dog House in Alden, I was saddened to discover that they closed until further notice before I had time to do the write up.  My condolences to the owners as well as the staff there for the unfortunate incident that led to their shutting down.  I had a wonderful time when I went and there was a roofing accident a week later that led to their demise. 

            At the end of this month (on Thursday, January 27th at 6 p.m.), The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour will be recording live on location by hosting a free concert with 2010 Buffalo Music Award winners for Best Rock Duo Of The Year Busted Stuff at Dee’s Firehouse on 4628 Broadway Ave. in Depew.  If you’re free, we’d love to see you at this event!  Dave and Cynthia are great people and they’re incredibly talented, so I look forward to hearing them play again.  They’re also launching a debut CD of original music around the same time frame, so hopefully they’ll have copies on hand to sell.

            As far as my autobiography goes, the first draft is finished.  Icarus On The Mend: Memoirs Of A Manic Depressive clocks in at a hefty 430 pages (so far) and if the book gets any larger upon revision, I may have to split it into two volumes from a cost standpoint.  I’d prefer not to charge more than $30 for the book in a soft cover format, so that could be the direction I take when the book is released in either 2012 or 2013.   The book is unlike anything I’ve written before, and while I’ve been guarding the manuscript for its explosive content and the cacophony of sensational revelations within, I’ll be auctioning off the second draft this spring.  The current bid is at $50.  If you want to read the book before it comes out, feel free to email me with a bid before spring.

            In February, I’ll be interviewing artist/writer Dylan Horrocks (Hicksville), who hails all the way from New Zealand.  This will be a studio show for The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour.  His breakout book was just republished this previous summer from Fantagraphics press and it’s one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read.  Don will be co-hosting with me.

            By April, my ninth collection (Mockery) will launch online and in stores.  It’s a 130 page collection of nothing but finely tuned rants and the book is layered like a stand up comedy act.  This is the first book where I’ve worked diligently on the pacing of the humor throughout the book and the effect on readers should be noticeably different and vastly improved.  It’ll retail for $14.99 and while I never say never, this may be my final essay collection.  Eve Barbour (of Eve Barbour Designs) will be working on the cover layout and interior and Ryan Miller took the cover photo (a black and white picture of me laughing at a little girl who dropped her ice cream cone).  I’ve started working on a fiction novel which I’m not prepared to discuss in any capacity yet as the work is still fresh. 

            I’m not sure what the back half of 2011 will hold for me, Doubt It Publishing, Mark McElligot and The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour, but I’m certainly looking forward to it.  This is going to be a great year and I look forward to taking the journey with all of you.  As always, stay tuned to the web sites for more details as they emerge.  To sum everything up, get ready to laugh.  A lot. 

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio Episode 51: ‘Altered States’

December 18, 2010

 

Tom and co-host ‘Stoner Steve’ dial editor, publisher, author and musician Wil Forbis up on ‘the Skype’ to talk about their collective illicit drug use, Wil’s magazine (Acid Logic), Wil’s band (Wil Forbis & The Gentleman Scoundrels) and a variety of other topics about the West Coast, pop culture and who can blow any of them.
 
To hear the show in full audio quality, feel free to click on over to:
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
or to hear the show along with ALL of my previous episodes, you can visit:
http://www.bigwords.mevio.com
 
    A big thanks goes out to Wil Forbis for publishing me for over a decade and for agreeing to be on the show.  Thanks also to Richard Wicka for recording and producing this episode as well as accommodating our multiple drinks situation in studio.  Thanks to Stoner Steve for lending some comedic value to the show and hanging on to the experience for dear life. 
    My next guests will be Buffalo Music Award ‘Best Duo Act Of 2010’ Busted Stuff.  We’re recording a live concert on location at Dee’s Firehouse on Thursday, January 27th around 5 p.m.  Mark your calendar and meet us out there for the fun!
 
Thanks,
Tom Waters 

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Voices From The Herd Reading Booked For Monday, December 6th@Desiderio’s!

November 9, 2010
     I’m overjoyed to announce that the writers, poets and talents behind Voices From The Herd: An Anthology For Buffalo, NY will be reading and signing copies of the book at Desiderio’s On Broadway (5827 Broadway Avenue on the corner of Broadway and Bowen) on the dinner theater stage on Monday, December 6th at 6:30 p.m.  We realize that the holiday season is a busy time for everyone, which is why we planned the event early in the month before things get too hectic.
     This is a great opportunity to enjoy a wonderful evening of free entertainment in a fine dining atmosphere, support local arts, contribute to a great cause, buy a reasonably priced book for Buffalo readers and expatriates and help out the Just Buffalo Literary Center all in the same night!  Copies of the book will be available for sale ($13) throughout the event, but supplies will be limited.  We strongly encourage you to buy a copy ahead of time through lulu.com.  Royalties are sent out directly and quarterly to Just Buffalo and so far the book has raised almost $300 for the organization. 
I’ll be recording the event for podcast inclusion for my show on thinktwiceradio.com and we’ll announce attending artists as the date approaches.  In the four years that I’ve lived in Lancaster, Desiderio’s has become a second home to me in addition to my first choice for all of my book launches.  Desiderio’s has earned a reputation for excellence at multiple locations for their exceptional food, personalized service, comfortable atmosphere and unique entertainment.       
In addition to the Voices From The Herd live reading, they’re launching ‘My Three Angels’, a play by Sam and Bella Spewak from Dec.4th through January 30th. It’s the story of three convicts who come to the aid of a good family in need. Call early to book a reservation at 683-7767. Dinner/show packages range from $36-46 depending on your entree. Thurs, Fri, Saturday dinner is 6 p.m. (Show is 8 p.m.). Sunday Dinner is 5 p.m. and Show is 7 p.m.
Desiderio’s has also announced Tom Sartori’s Holiday Caberet on December 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th. Ring in the holidays with a Buffalo native who became a singer, songwriter and recording artist who went on to play all over the country. Tom returns to Buffalo in December to perform the songs of the season with many of the Holiday Tunes you’ve come to love over the years. You’ll definitely leave Desiderio’s with the Joy of the season in your heart.
I truly can’t wait for the Voices From The Herd event on the 6th.  In a season of giving, we’re looking forward to giving you great entertainment while we all give something back to the Just Buffalo Literary Center.
Happy Holidays (in advance),
Tom Waters
Co-Editor

Voices From The Herd

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Mockery Alert

October 21, 2010

Wandering away momentarily from the Buffalo Arts Council scandal, I’d like to talk about my next book.  Code named ‘Mockery’, I’m planning on throwing a curve ball right past home base.  So to speak.

With three years of new material in the can and nine books (including the Voices From The Herd anthology), I’m in no hurry to release or promote something new.  Unless it’s something special. 

The idea hit me like a ton of bricks and after doing a million promotions, in-store appearances and readings over the last ten years, it was time for a change.  I thought about what I enjoyed reading, what made sense and honestly (after both Breathing Rooms), how the content naturally fit.  It’s time for a book devoted to what I do best: comedy.

Over the course of a weekend, I took about 300 pages of essays and picked out my favorites.  The lean, mean beasts of the pack.  Out of all of the available material, I harvested 130 choice pages of concentrated hilarity and lined them up to mirror the pacing, timing and structure of a standup comedy routine, with light laughs and superficial material at the beginning leading in to the crux of my angst and closing out with a strong, steady finish that brings it all back around. 

I’m a slow learner.  We’ve been over this.  But personally, as a reader, I’ve always enjoyed reading essay collections that top out at around 130 pages.  I love Andy Rooney, but he runs too long for his own good.  The funniest book I’ve ever read (or in all likelihood, will ever read) is Steve Martin’s Pure Drivel, which closes out at 130 tight, well constructed pages.  It’s high time to follow the path that Hemingway and Fitzgerald carved out.  Less is more, and economy of line packs more of a wallop than a whopper of a book in weight.

The material I’ve chosen has a flow that’s refreshing compared to my previous collections.  I’m very excited, and it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten worked up over my own work.  With a new direction and a vastly evolved battle plan, I’ve got a fresh start.  I’ll be hammering out a lower price point, too, which will attract a larger base of readers.

Slapstick & Superego was a beautiful project and a great book, and I’m proud of the material, the appearance and the layout.  I jumped ship on the promotions though simply because I was exhausted from promoting.  With Mockery, I feel energized because everything feels new again, so Slapstick will get the readings and signings it deserved right alongside Mockery

I’m proud to note that graphic designer Evangeline Barbour is heading up the cover design and interior of the book.  We’ve got a very specific look for this book that appeal to my vintage graphic novel sensibilities.  Fan favorite Mike Hilliard (better known as Intentionally Bald Mike) will be penning the intro.  I’m also in the midst of discussions with web/graphic designer Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios) for a brand new web site due out before or at the same time as the book launch that wows, informs and titillates.

            The sad news is that you’re just going to have to be patient for the new book, as I’m taking my time with this one.  Tentatively slated for a spring of ’11 release, I’m going to make sure this baby is perfect before we deliver it to the rest of the world.  Trust me when I say it’ll be worth the wait.  Throw your preconceived expectations out the window and strap yourself in for a reading experience that’ll make you laugh yourself into a brain aneurysm.  I’m not even kidding.         

Stay tuned,

Tom Waters

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One More Thing I Love About Lulu/Sir Gregg Sansonne Rocking The Keyboards

October 8, 2010

In addition to the rest of the products and services that lulu offers to authors, they’ve added the ability to discount our books.  So I’m going to try a little experiment.  For the month of October, all of the books available from Doubt It Publishing on lulu.com will be 10% off.  For those of you who start your holiday shopping in September, now’s the time to jump on a great deal for friends and family who like laughing and like reading.  If book sales improve, I might keep it that way.  If not, whelp, it was worth trying out.  All you have to do is click on the links to the right for Slapstick & Superego, Breathing Room vol.I or vol.II and even 12 Priests and 3 Gnomes by David Waters and BAM!, you’re right there.  Ladies and gentleman, start your orders!

In other developments, musician and long time pal in ‘this business of show’ Gregg Sansonne has been tentatively booked for the next episode of Big Words Radio on October 28th.  I’ve wanted to do an in-studio concert with a split format for some time now (half interview, half private show) and we could finally pull it off.  Gregg’s a 4-time consecutive Buffalo Music Award winner (Artist Of The Year) and I’ve been a fan of his performances since 2001.  We should be in for a real treat when he hunkers down in the studio with me.   That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so have a great one.

Tom Waters

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2 poems in AV this week, My View this weekend…

July 3, 2009
    I was thumbing through ArtVoice yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to see that they ran ‘token excuses for block’ and ‘listening to thelonius monk’ (from Breathing Room Volume I) in their ‘in the margins section’ in this week’s issue!  I still don’t have the slightest idea when the Joe Nickell interview is running (if ever) along with another piece I was assigned to write, spent money on and wrote LAST SUMMER, so it was nice to see a few poems that were recently accepted run so soon.  As for the other two, this has happened so many times with no clear indicator as to why the pieces haven’t run that I’ve lost any hope of them seeing print in AV.
    As for other publications, be on the lookout in the Buffalo News My View section this weekend (most likely on July 4th) for ‘Declaration’, a new essay I wrote about how Independence Day means a lot more to me than just fireworks and backyard barbeques.  I showed it to my buddy Brendan (the same one who recently co-hosted Episode 40) and he gave it the thumbs up, so odds are that it’s going to go over like gangbusters.  
     I hope you enjoy your 4th of July and don’t forget to grab a copy of ArtVoice and the Buffalo News this weekend!
    Tom Waters 
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Monday Big Words Update! Purgatorio

June 1, 2009

The last two months have been very frustrating.  It seems like every project I’ve been working on has gotten trapped in limbo and things aren’t progressing at a speed that I’m comfortable with or the timeline I was originally working with.
     After personally proof-reading my correction proof for Slapstick & Superego and submitting the typos and various errors that crop up with any manuscript, I uploaded the newest revision and ordered a copy of the revised book.  I got the new copy in the mail over the weekend and there are five NEW typos that cropped up and can’t be ignored.  I was hoping to have some copies of the new book on hand for the Big Words Radio Anniversary Party on June 20th, but it’s getting down to the wire and it’s not looking good at this point.  I can’t plan an official launch, I can’t schedule radio interviews, and I can’t really do much of anything in terms of promoting or scheduling the new book until the new book is DONE, so I’m stalled yet again and I’m not sure how long it will be before the book measures up to the standards I’m holding it to.  One way or the other, this new book is going to be perfect.  No typos, no mis-prints, no formatting hiccups.  As the third release from Doubt It Publishing, the presentation of the book needs to be as tight as the content within, so unfortunately, I’m going to wait patiently until the finished product is, well, finished.
     The entire month of April was spent designing the new Big Words Radio web site and moving each show over individually under a different format.  As a result of this, there are still six to seven hours worth of archived shows that I’d like to edit and post before planning/recording any new shows.  Potential guests are chomping at the bit and I’ve even talked a number of talented local and national artists about doing new shows, but I can’t set a date or start researching new shows until the old ones are up online.  And I can’t do that until we get our computer back from repairs.  The new motherboard for my PC was supposed to be in last Tuesday and it got delayed, so I have no f*&#ing access to the sound files that I’ve been anxious to work on since last week.  So any new radio shows are on hold for a bit longer.
     With a final deadline approaching for the Buffalo Anthology Project, Alycia Ripley and I agreed to block out some time in May and June to begin reviewing the final slate of submissions and start adding the accepted works.  While I’ve made some headway updating accepted authors and while I have access to the submissions that haven’t been accepted or rejected via email, again, I don’t have access to the anthology file itself because it’s on a hard drive that isn’t physically HERE right now.  So I get to wait that one out, too. 
     And after the fiasco at Mitchell’s Tavern this previous Friday (if you didn’t read about it yet, scroll down), my editor at the Buffalo News and I decided that we won’t be publishing the review because he doesn’t want to send a staff photographer to a bar where their reviewer and his friends got jumped without provocation while the employees watched outside (on camera) and did nothing to stop it.  
     I’ve got a lot more to discuss about the Mitchell’s Tavern fiasco, but it seems like the perfect topic to go into at length for a little something I like to call ‘Quixote Wednesday’.  All of us directly involved are truly livid about the incident, and from what you’ve all told me since posting, you’re not too pleased about it either.  I’ll start airing my grievences two days from now on the official site this Wednesday, so I’ll talk to you all then.
     And before I forget, part one of a brand new essay (‘Oral Technique’) hits the stands in Night Life magazine today.  It’s an article about the impending one year anniversary for the Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour that I wrote on my AOL email since I don’t have a word processing program on our loaner computer.  
     Color me frustrated,
     Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Slapstick & Superego Final Stages/April Foolfest 2 Next Week/Gregg Sansonne Benefit THIS SUNDAY!

March 24, 2009
While this is an exciting time, for many reasons that I can’t divulge, the next six months will be highly irregular. I’m happy to report that I’m currently in possession of the only copy of my next book on the planet and I’m re-reading it (a painful process for me) for typos.

Slapstick & Superego is so close to the finish line that I can taste it, and in many respects, it feels like the first actual book I’ve released. Instead of a resume or showcase-style format, this book was planned from start to finish as a rant collection. No interviews, no poems, no projects, just rants. It is the first concept book from start to finish, and I’m very proud of it. In addition, the introduction (by Alycia Ripley), the wraparound cover (by Ian Chrystal) and the interior layout (by Victoria Robinson) are all second to none. Early response has been through the roof, and the team effect is something I’ll be implementing as Doubt It Publishing moves onward and upward.

In the same regard (for reasons I can’t necessarily go into), I’ll be holding ONE event for the book in the next six months. Once I’m satisfied with the look of the collection, and once I’ve signed off on it, I’ll be holding a singular launch over the summer and then there won’t be any other events until November or later. After the Monsters Of Verse tour, this will be a serious change in the way I’ve done business for the previous six to eight months. Instead of promoting a few times a week, I’ll be plugging, interviewing, reviewing and doing radio spots for one event only and then disappearing into the woodwork until the holiday season.

In case you forgot, April Foolfest 2 is going down next week with musical guest Lenny Revell at Desiderio’s on Broadway at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1st. In light of the fact that Slapstick arrived in my mail box early, not only will I be showing the editing proof off to anyone who wants to see it, but I’ll read a few rants from the book from 7-9 (along with selections from both Breathing Rooms) as well. If you want to see the book before summer comes around, next week will be the time to do it. Anyone who’s been to one of the book promotions at Desiderio’s knows that they’re an event to remember (and that they tend to run all the way up to last call), so if you’re free, make it out to a free evening of tirades and truly inspiring music by new pal Lenny Revell! Aside from the last few MOV events and the Slapstick launch, you won’t be seeing too many public appearances from ‘this guy’ until the holiday ads start running on television and in your local papers, so make a point of coming out!

And closer up on the map, I’ll be emceeing for dear friend Gregg Sansonne’s ‘We’ve Got Your Back’ benefit THIS SUNDAY! Gregg is undergoing some serious (and much needed) back surgery that will put him out of the local performing circuit for at least a few months. Gregg has been like a brother to me, and he played my wedding as a gift for Lindsay and me. If you have this Sunday open (from noon to six), pop on out to the Colonel Weber V.F.W. Post and fork over the measly twenty bucks to see Black Widow, Busted Stuff, Mick Hayes and Only Humen rock the joint out for the better part of the day. There will also be a Chinese Auction, games, raffles, food and a cash bar. I’ve never emceed before, so I hope I can round out the bill without screwing anything up.

Tickets will be available (in limited quantities) at the door, but if you want to secure some in advance, feel free to contact me via email

(bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com) or you can feel free to call Nicole (one of the organizers) at 341-4073. I can’t stress what a great friend Gregg has been to me and many others in the Buffalo music community over the years, so PLEASE come out and support my buddy in his time of need!

 

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FINAL Call For Buffalo Anthology Submissions Runs From 1/09-7/09

December 30, 2008

This is it! Alycia is back in town for a brief time and we’ll be committing the next six months to wrapping up the LAST slate of submissions along with securing a publisher for the collection. Close pal Christina Wos Donnelly soothed some of my woes by emailing to say that most anthologies take two years on average. Here are some answers (along with some criteria) to answer some recent emails:

1.) If you’ve already submitted work and had it accepted, feel free to submit more material. The odds of a second (or in some case, third) work from the same author being included are less favorable than the initial submission, but if you believe your other works are capable of surviving the firing line, have at it.

2.) You will only be notified IF your submission is accepted. As working writers, we decided at the outset that chain rejection emails were infinitely nastier than no reply at all. If you haven’t heard from myself or Alycia by next year’s end, then your work didn’t make the cut. Sorry. This doesn’t mean that you’re not a promising writer/artist/poet, your work just wasn’t a good fit for the project. No hard feelings?

3.) We are still accepting poems, so feel free to submit, but the acceptance ratio will be much greater for essays, flash memoirs, historical expositions and works of fiction. The collection as it stands is top-heavy with poetry. Buffalo has a phenomenal poetry scene with a wealth of talented poets, but we firmly believe that there are still a lot of other creative endeavors and headspaces toiling away in Buffalo that deserve greater recognition.

4.) Please, by all means, SPREAD THE WORD! We want this collection to be just as succesful as you do, if not more. Just Buffalo can always use some extra help (financially and creatively), so if you have an altruistic bone in your body, push it to the breaking point. Tell your writing workshop. Tell your friends that have been writing and haven’t gotten a lot of work published on the local front. Tell your peers if you’re firmly entrenched in the heirarchy. If there’s one thing this project has taught us (and there have been a lot of valuable lessons down the road), it’s that word of mouth can hold a lot more weight than a listing in most of the notable newspapers. A Call For Works listing is all well and good, but after the day or the week-long run is over in a publication, word of mouth keeps the submissions rolling in.

5. And finally (before the Final Call For Submissions copy), if you were one of the writers who submitted for the last reading period (summer 2008), we haven’t gotten to your work yet, so don’t be crestfallen…yet. Alycia and I will be hitting the learning curve in the next six months to put this project to bed once and for all. After July, we’ll be rounding up as many accepted contributors as we can for the purpose of putting our heads together in person to decide on a finished project together. This is not a two-party system. This is not a head trip for myself or Alycia. This is a non-profit collection with the dual intention of promoting lesser known creative talents while raising money for Buffalo’s only literary center in a time of need. A finished manuscript is only the first stepping stone on the road to publishing, promoting, marketing and selling the book. Trust us on this one. Compiling the book will be easy compared to the junket we have in store one calendar year from now. We’ll need as many hands on deck as we can get to put this book out in a professional, fiscally viable manner. As always, contributions (creatively and financially) are appreciated.

And now, the Final (and Lord, do I mean final!) Call For Submissions. Happy New Year,

Tom Waters
Poetry Editor

Alycia Ripley
Fiction Editor

Buffalo Authors Alycia Ripley and Tom Waters will be considering any and all submissions of flash fiction and nonfiction (2,000 word max) as well as poetry (10 page max) for inclusion in an upcoming not-for-profit anthology about present day Buffalo. Since the submission period has been extended and the publishing window has been reconfigured to allow for a larger collection, works of fiction as well as historical or biographical essays will be given precedence over poetry submissions due to the current content of accepted works thus far. Submissions will be considered in (as well as) outside of Buffalo, and the material must be topical to modern day Buffalo life, landmarks or Buffalonians in general. All entries must be cut and pasted into the body of an email and sent simultaneously to ‘bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com’ and ‘alyciaripley@hotmail.com’ with the type of submission in the subject heading (ex: ‘flash fiction submission’).
In addition, please include name, address, email address and published works you would like listed after your name in the completed anthology. The finished book will be published in the Spring of 2010 and all royalties will go towards the betterment and continued success of the Just Buffalo Literary Center. Submission period will run from January 1st-July1st and accepted authors will be notified via email. In addition, any and all parties interested in contributing their time or capital towards publishing, producing and marketing the book are also welcome to email or query.

For more information (as always), feel free to visit the official Just Buffalo Anthology Project site at:

buffaloanthology.blogspot.com

Thank you so much for your interest in the project,

Tom Waters

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Sunday Newsletter Update: Radio Episodes 8.5 & 9 Up!

August 31, 2008

 

Yep,
    I wanted to write sooner.  I wanted to get the last episode up sooner, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Rich (my producer) had to go in for some medical tests and everything came up rosy.  If there’s one thing the two of us have in common, it’s our love for a holistic lifestyle.  Right.
    Life has just been insanely busy lately.  I’ve been wanting to write more comic reviews, but I haven’t had time.  A week and a half ago, I had a Gusto assignment at Hennessey’s Pub out in Alden.  Last Saturday was my bachelor party, which I decided to make a podcast out of.  That turned into episode 8.5 (since I spent more time partying than recording, it was only a half an hour).  On Sunday (amidst a shit storm of aggravation), I wrote three poems.  Then I got lost somewhere on the 279 and ended up sleeping in my car.  This is why I hate large highways. 
    On Monday (after explaining to my wife, her parents and a few other people that the ‘reports of my death were greatly exaggerated’), I met up with ArtVoice Managing Editor Geoff Kelly at Mulligan’s Brick Bar downtown to record on location.  We had a knockout show and for some reason on a Monday afternoon at a bar on Allen there were six people who were unfamiliar with the term ‘inside voices’.  The podcast turned out great regardless. 
    Tuesday was my night at Desi’s.  On Wednesday, I returned to Buff State to chime in and sit in to enjoy Lisa Forrest’s Rooftop Poetry Club get together.  It was therapy that was well needed.  Weds. night I had a quiet night in with the wife.  That was well needed too.
    Thursday I was at work all day for the most part.  Friday was more work and another quiet night in with the wife. 
    Yesterday I had an assignment for ArtVoice that I had to be vague about.  I’ll just say that if you’re a true Elton John fan, you might be familiar with a certain reverse psuedonym that’s going to be popping up soon in their pages. 
    Check out the podcasts, though.  You can find both over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
Episode 8.5 Tag Line
 
Tom commemorates his bachelor party with the drunkest podcast yet, strange boobs in the face, Mighty Taco, and projectile vomiting.
 
Episode 9 Tag Line:    
    
Tom sits down and pounds out the magic with Buffalo Wonder Boy and ArtVoice’s Managing Editor in Chief Geoff Kelly. Mayhem ensues, stout is purchased on Jamie Moses’ corporate credit card.card.
 
    The two Breathing Room poetry books STILL aren’t done.  I am now a month over my personal deadline for them and the first volume had better be finished come next week or somebody is going to be in hot water.  My layout person is still working on them and I don’t understand how the pdf can be so difficult when I knocked out Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish in a weekend.  I guess we’ll see what next week brings.  Volume I should be ready for order by the second week of September.  I’ll be in Las Vegas that week for work. 
    I think that’s just about everything.  I’m about three weeks away from my wedding and the majority of my immediate families (and friends, for that matter) hate my guts or think I’ve lost my mind altogether or both.  These things will happen.  In September, the Buffalo News will be running an essay I wrote about my new in-laws in their ‘My View’ section.  That makes my second accepted submission for the year and they allow three per person, so I’ll have to whip something else up as soon as ‘Our People’ runs.   
     Things are really starting to come together career-wise.  Word of mouth on something or other (or perhaps ALL of it) is hitting the ground running and I’d like to think that the money should be around the corner.  Geoff Kelly and I were talking about career goals, aspirations and objectives on Monday and I told him my conclusion was that ultimately, I wanted to keep busy.  Writing is a compulsive therapy for me now.  It’s something I’m going to do no matter what.  I’m knocking on wood here, because every time I say something like that, I block up for eight to twelve months.  There’s still too much to be done.  And I don’t give a shit about recognition anymore, inclusion, or critical fanfare.  I want to make money.  I want to provide for my new three unit family.  I want to be able to leave my job in two to five years so that I can do this full time.  I’m ready.  The steps are in place.  All I have to do now is keep at it.
    I’ll drop you a line again when I have a chance.  Take care of yourselves, Big Words readers.  Seeya on the flip side.
 
    Tom Waters
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Monday Update On Weds./Week 92 on stands/Fall Of Rome…

August 27, 2008

Now most of you know what a neurotic obsessive I am with my web site(s).  So the fact that my computer was demolished thanks to some ambitious hacker with a Trojan Worm this previous Friday caused me a great deal of grief.  For the second time this year, I had to have my computer restored to its default settings so that I could get back on track.  I’m very fortunate in that my future brother in law is a computer wunderkind, so he had it back up and running in a day and a half….

     The other good news is that Rich (my producer at Think Twice Radio) scored me a 15 Gig Ipod for 42 dollars.  So now I get to learn how to upload my 600 CDs (mostly Elton and Dylan) onto this thing.  It’s third generation, but what are you gonna do?

     Over the weekend, I recorded 12 and a half minutes of my bachelor party, read my opening intro and recorded a five minute ‘Question’ segment.  Somehow this worked out to be about a half an hour Big Words Radio Show (episode 8.5).  Check that out over at:

www.thinktwiceradio.com

     I’d give you a direct link to my feed on Think Twice, but the net still isn’t cooperating fully.  I’ll re-edit later on…

     I also recorded episode 9 on Monday at Mulligan’s Brick Bar with Geoff Kelly (managing editor at ArtVoice).  It was a great show, but my producer has been tied up with work obligations, so to the best of my knowledge, it’s not up yet.  It should be by week’s end, so I’ll get back to you as soon as it is.

     This weekend was hell and back and back around again.  I’m still coping with the emotional and psychic fallout.  I really wish that anyone who’s ‘concerned’ about my ‘erratic behavior’ and feels that i should ‘slow down’ could walk a mile in my shoes this summer.  A less durable person would have taken their own life by now or a whole bunch of other people’s and then their own by about mid July.  Four of my friends have had complete meltdowns, the world is crashing down around my ears and I’ve written two entire books, launched a radio show and freelanced my ass off on top of a forty hour plus weekly job.  So yeah, I’m going to be a little erratic.  Deal with it. 

     Five years from now, I’ll look back and see the upswing.  I’ll look on this time as the sheer amount of career leapfrogging I’ve been doing as a writer.  So I would do it again a million times.  When I can quit my day job and do the radio thing or the writing thing full time, things will be a lot easier.  I’m not the praying kind, but if you are, say one for me.  I’ve put my time in.  I’ve been writing since I was 13 and I’ve been on the radio for seven years in one form or another, so it would be really nice to make $40,000 to start to do what I love.  I’ll get there, but it would be nice to get there faster.  It infuriates me to think that there are so many talentless clowns who fell ass backwards into union jobs that I’ve worked my ass off to get to.  It’ll happen, but it really needs to happen sooner rather than later before I snap completely or lose everyone and everything I care about. 

     But I digress.  Week 92 of Night Life is on stands with a Big Words ‘uncut’ column of ‘Love Letter To Lancaster’.  I wanted to run it in August, but I didn’t get around to it.  Later today, I’ll be dropping in on Lisa Forrest’s Rooftop Poetry Club at Buffalo State, my old haunting ground.  Rooftop and the Center For Inquiry remain my two favorite poetry reading venues.  I’m going to try and record the reading for Think Twice, but we’ll see what happens. 

     ArtVoice has also decided to run my graphic novel reviews.  And they’ve given me the green light to do three Pro-Buffalo PD interviews.  At least one writer in this goddamned town should be an ultra conservative, so if it’s gotta be me, so be it.  It’s early in the morning, so I’ll leave you with that.  Four days without the web or a computer has left me behind the eight ball, so I’ve got other things to do. 

     Listen to the radio show.  Grab a copy of Night Life.  We can branch out from there.  Peace out,

Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio Episode III: Priceless! (or) ‘A Prostate Exam For Your Mind’

August 7, 2008
Cost Of A Bicycle Horn: $5
Cost Of Gas Transporting Insane and Heavily Sleep Depraved Radio Host: $3.50
Cost Of Medium Red Bull and 20 oz. Coca Cola Classic: $4
Cost Of 8 Pack, Guinness Stout: $12
Cost Of Friendship With Guest Co-Host Intentionally Bald Mike Due To Obvious and Brutal Homosexual References To His Personal Persuasion: $200
Cost Of Stomach Cramps Due To Pissing My Pants Listening To Show Two Times In A Row: $40
Cost Of Any Career Legs Up From Award Winner Alex Robinson: $4 Million
Cost Of Never Getting To Use Previously Mentioned Bicycle Horn Again Due To Giving Radio Producer ‘a headache’: $?
Cost Of Visit To Therapist Resulting In Sociopathic Comedic Freedom: $50 Co-Pay
 
Cost Of The Best Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Show Yet?
 
Priceless.
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
Every single one of you NEEDS to listen to Episode III with Alex Robinson and guest co-host Mike Hilliard.  Thanks to Alex for being such a great sport, Hilliard for taking it sitting down over and over again (You LOVED it!), and to Richard Wicka for incurring a comedically-inspired migraine.  There is no way to describe this episode.  Treat yourself and then go back and listen to the other two if you haven’t caught them.  Slide whistles and bicycle horns.  The bicycle horn for the first and, indeed, final time.  Historic.  I’ll have to think of another prop next month in the studio for guest co-host gun-nut Brendan  and adult film star call in interviewee Brandy Dean.  Enjoy,
 
Tom Waters 
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Monday Big Words Update: Stop The Press, I Wanna Get Off!

August 5, 2008

     If I had a request to pass along to the Fates, it would be that they didn’t let all the important things happen in the last week of each month this summer.  This makes twice now that I’ve had to phone in to Night Life magazine and essentially tell them to ‘Stop The Press!’  With a four rant block of essays already in place, I changed tack in light of last week’s events and decided to publish the Buffalo Rising campaign ala Lenny Bruce by serializing the ordeal.  Every email, every column and every late breaking event will be disseminated in a two or three part column series IN print in Night Life magazine under the auspicious title of ‘Alia Iacta Est’ (or, for those of you familiar with your Latin, ‘The Die Is Cast’. 

     There were a lot of updates I wanted to write over the weekend, but Linds and I skipped town and set sail for Lake Erie.  Some time late on Friday, I finally (after many hits, misses and total mistakes for the notion) came up with a lasting title for Essay Book Six (technically Book 9.  Are you ready for it?  Maybe we should get a drum roll going because the title is unbelievably perfect for the content.

-Drum Roll Please

First of all, you’re all (most of you) familiar with the next Rant Book Title, Slapstick & Superego.  We’ve got that one covered at least.  I’m looking at May or June of next year depending on how long the Breathing Room promotions will spill over.   But the book after that, the rant collection that’s clocking in around 107 pages thus far, is:

-Drum Roll, Please!

Merry Prankster

     I agonize over the naming of things.  This title knocks my socks off, though.  It’s an obscure reference to the ’60s, The Tarot, my lifestyle, the material and my way of life.  It works.  If it turns out that someone else has used that handle, I’m still using it.  It’s perfect, it has a nice ring to it, and I can’t think of Rant Book Six as anything other than.

     I spoke with a lot of Buffalo Industry Veterans today regarding the Buffalo Rising fiasco and they’ve all given me some sagely advice.  Whether I follow it is irrelevant, but it was nice to get their opinions.  People who have been toiling away in the business of newspapers for over a decade (and in some cases, two or three).  In many cases, this experience has opened (or re-opened) a lot of doors for me into new endeavors with old friends and new alike.  A few interviews will be finding their way into the pages of Buffalo Spree, a slick magazine publication with nationwide circulation that Elena was blinded with rage over being unable to trump.  A few others still will be finding a home with ArtVoice after Editor in Chief Geoff Kelly and I manage to trade some old journalistic muckracking anecdotes over a stout or two and come to agreement on the Buffalo Police series.  And I’m going to find a way to work something out with WNY Media, as I think they deserve a few fresh pieces from me after sticking their necks out along with me last week when no one else would.  That takes guts.

     Nicholas Peterson has joined the brigade with myself and Carrie Gardner in putting the finishing polish on both Breathing Room manuscripts.  He’s a wiz on formatting, desktop publishing and layout and he’s been kind enough to volunteer his efforts on rescuing the headers, footers, fonts and formatting headaches that have just about gotten the best of me.  I’ve already begun work on a THIRD volume of poetry (shooting for 3-400 pages for the next tome) entitled Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick which, if I’m lucky, will not be complete for another two years or so with all of the other plates spinning in the air. 

     RD Pohl didn’t see fit to accept any of my submissions for this month’s installment of the Poetry Page in the Buffalo News.  Florine still hasn’t run ‘token excuses for block’, which is understandable as they only seem to run poems once in a blue moon in the ‘In The Margins’ section of ArtVoice.  ‘poem for Lindsay’ continues to garner decent votes on poetry.com, but I’m going to need more credibility for certain parties with the poems if I’m going to move some copies.  It’ll all fall into place over the next three or four months.

     I’m lining up some phenomenal concerts/readings/performances that center again around the ‘Monsters Of Verse’ concept.  Three poets, one location, and the occassional musical guest between sets.  Carrie Gardner, Jeff Finlayson and myself will be headlining a Screening Room reading in mid-December that pays.  Carrie and myself will be featured as readers at the Center For Inquiry as part of Just Buffalo’s ‘Literary Cafe’ readings hosted by the ever-entertaining Perry Nicholas.  All signs point to yes for a launch-window (late October) trifecta reading at Talking Leaves on Main St near UB North.  And discussions are being bandied about regarding doing the official launch at the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center on Main St. downtown.  Most of these events are paying and the majority of them are going to come to pass.  The ‘Monsters Of Verse’ concert concept just feels like more of a downtown Buffalo venue, so I’ll be focusing most of my efforts in and around Buffalo, where poetry seems to thrive in multiple pockets and genres.  Buffalo Spree has even informed me that they’re willing to jump in ahead of the curve and do an Artist Profile and me, which is tremendously flattering. 

     After two months of typing furiously, my right hand is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.  I’m afraid I’ll be taking a break from writing (and posting) for the majority of the week so that I don’t put any undue strain on the nerve and tendon clusters in my forearm.  I will, however, be running some emails that a certain Informant on Buffalo Rising has been supplying me with intel from mid-week.  The new Big Words radio show wraps this Wednesday night and Uncle Hal and I are STILL trying to find a good time window to do the 60th episode together.  We’ll hammer something out.  That’s a lot of ground covered.  Talk to you soon,

Tom Waters

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Scenes From An Italian Restaurant: Desiderio’s on Podcast!/Site Hit Record Broken & Doubled!

July 31, 2008
As of right now, episode II of Big Words Radio is up online and ready for downloading, ipoding and streaming audio in broadband and dialup.  I talk with Jay Desiderio (one of the owners of my favorite restaurant in the world) about panties in ficus trees, pricing, the economy, the theater and his lifetime passion for cuisine.  I also fire off on Sloan-heads, air a five minute clip with my Uncle Dick.  It was a good night.  Give it a listen yourself over at:
 
http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html
 
Many thanks to Jay Desiderio for being such an entertaining and lovable guest, Richard Wicka (as always) for being a wunderkind producer, and to my Uncle Dick for jumping at the chance to tell a story about my old man back in the old days.  Let me know what you think, Big Words fans!
I’m also ecstatically pleased to announce that the Big Words web site has reached a new hit record.  For the first time in almost a year and a half, the site exceeded it’s original all time high of 107 unique site hits, doubled and kept going! 
The final tally for Wednesday was 264 unique views.  That’s a pretty big deal.  Here’s to hoping that all of you come back and stick around for the fun.  Now that Buffalo Rising has fascistically seen fit to block my IP from offering my opinion on their drivel, you’ll just have to park your ass here if you need your fix.  Thanks so much for helping me to hit this new and momentous milestone.  I’m looking forward to the ride ahead!
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Monday Big Words Update! Week 88 on stands, ‘Editor’s Choice’?

July 29, 2008

     If all goes according to plan (which it hasn’t yet this month), ‘The Importance Of Being Neurotic’, my piece on the intrinsic value of psychotherapy, will hit stands in the pages of Night Life this week.  In the shuffle, I thought for some reason that it was running last week.  It didn’t.  ‘On Spec’ ran in the Big Words column instead.  Too much confusion.  All of this should be ironed out in time for next month, as I won’t be shuffling shows around like a game of, well, shuffleboard, going into August.

     The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal 60th episode has been postponed indefinitely.  Due to circumstances beyond both of our control, Hal is taking a break and sorting some other things out and I’ll leave it at that.  It pains me to see yet another friend going through a veritable monsoon of troubles that life is dishing out, but I’ll wait patiently on the sidelines and offer help when it’s asked for.  That’s all I can do at this point.  It’s been a tough summer for a lot of my friends, and it aggravates me that it has to happen all at once.  I’m sure there’s a soothing adage for all of this, but any advice eludes me for the time being.

     And finally, I’m not sure whether it’s a massive pyramid scheme of a scam right now, but I had two poems accepted on the notorious Poetry.com web site, ‘Poem For Lindsay’ and ‘On The Corner Of Average’.  The former (‘Poem For Lindsay’) was awarded with the partially prestigious ‘Poet’s Choice’ award.  Whether or not this carries any weight is beyond me, as these are circles I’m unfamiliar in traveling.  However, it’s always good to have more work up and around online.  You can view (and read) ‘Poem For Lindsay’ over on:

http://www.poetry.com/dotnet/P9003195/999/1/display.aspx

‘On The Corner Of Average’ can be found over at:

http://www.poetry.com/dotnet/P9003195/999/2/display.aspx

     This Wednesday, my celebrity interview with Uncle Hal had to be postponed, so in his place, I’ll be talking with Jay Desiderio from Desiderio’s on Broadway for the second installment of the Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour.  If you caught the first episode, you know that you’re not going to want to miss the second episode.  I’ve got a real corker of a rant (if you get the email newsletter, you just read it yesterday) for my opening shot, so grab a comfortable chair and a stiff drink and hop online later this week.   Tune on in late Wednesday night at:

www.thinktwiceradio.com

     That’s all the news that’s fit to print for one day.  Talk to you sooner than you think,

Tom Waters

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Acid Logic Update/’Final Eulogy’ in BRO/5 min video delayed (not really)

July 9, 2008

Goddamn, it’s good to be productive!

The July issue of Acid Logic is up online right now with ‘Quiet Time Or Else’, an essay about my required need for silence and tranquility.  Check it out at:

http://www.acidlogic.com/quiet_time.htm

And Buffalo Rising has seen fit to throw my review up online regarding Charles Bukowski’s final posthumous collection of poems, ‘The Pleasures Of The Damned’.  You can read all about it at:

http://www.buffalorising.com/story/final_eulogy_charles_bukowskis#sca

     And I spaced on the date for Think Twice radio’s ‘five minute video’ series.  It wasn’t yesterday.  It’s about two weeks away.  There is honestly so much going on (even without a current book to plug) that it’s hard to keep track and I’m simply hanging on for dear life and loving every single minute of it.  I believe the date is somewhere around July 24th, so you can be sure that I’ll post the link right around then.

    Last but not least, the manuscript for Breathing Room Volume I: Free Verse was quietly (and ecstatically) completed Monday night around 10 pm.  I’m ecstatic.  I’m giddy.  I’m clicking my heels inside!  I went out to celebrate last night and felt a hell of a lot like Barton Fink in the USO scene of the film by the same name.  I’m feeling compelled to post a poem over on MySpace sometime today, so if you’re curious, you might want to nose around my profile if you get a chance. 

     I’ve set a two week deadline for my photographer (Shauna Seiler) for the cover concept and my editor (Carrie Gardner) for the introduction, so the book should be available by month’s end.  Not one to be lazy, I’m going to start working on the second volume in the next few days: Breathing Room Vol. II: rhymes & relics.  As I’ve said before, with the wedding fast approaching, I don’t have the time nor the inclination to promote anything in the next three months, but I’m putting my aces in my places for a gigantic book launch/concert/multiple artist reading on Oct. 25th, my 33rd birthday.  I’m thinking downtown.  I’m thinking artsy.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  More news on that event as it develops…

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 83 (‘Kicked In The Monthly Mailbag’) Simulcast!

June 23, 2008

     I’m still riding high from yesterday’s Think Twice Radio show.  If you haven’t listened yet, click your butt over to:

www.thinktwiceradio.com

-and click on my ugly mug for some really funny stuff.  Don and Ian made great guests and my buddy Ron and I were practically wetting our pants listening to the show last night during our weekly guy’s night.  Yet here it is a Monday again which means that the new print issue of Night Life magazine is hitting stands all around Buffalo and the lower Canadian regions with a Big Words installment of ‘Kicked In The Monthly Mailbag’, a severely tongue in cheek response to the fact that I begged, pleaded and cajoled for some letters or suggestions from readers and got ZERO responses.  Thanks a lot, folks.  Since I’m still aggravated about that, I’m going to run today’s column right here for you bastards as well.  Take a hint!  My ego needs constant care, feeding and nurturing, so send me some goddamned mail already!  The address (in the event that you haven’t been beaten over the head with it enough already) is: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com .  If you want to hear me read your letter on the Think Twice radio show, put ‘Radio Show mail’ in the subject heading.  If you want to see portions of your letter in print, write ‘Print Column’ in the heading.  After lowering my expectations and still getting let down on reader mail, I’m not expecting much.  Thanks for nothing. 

     So that’s all I’ve got.  If you haven’t been checking the site, last week was a busy one, so scroll down if you want to get caught up.  Seeya in the funny papers,

Tom ‘rain, sleet and snow’ Waters

 

  Kicked In The Monthly Mailbag
 
 Last month, I begged and pleaded with all of you to send me some mail so that I could see what you had to say.  I encouraged everyone who read this column to direct their comments, questions and suggestions to: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com.  Here’s what I found in my email box.  I will try and answer each email respectfully and pleasantly:
 
 Michele Hanah writes in saying that I can ‘Expand my male organ with infinite inches running on the best therapeutics.’  Thanks for writing in Michele!  While I appreciate your suggestion, my male organ is doing just fine.  I don’t like to brag, but I sometimes knock furniture over with the length and girth of my male organ.  I’m not sure how you can guarantee infinite inches of measurement (as that’s scientifically impossible), but I guess I’ll never know, because I’m not going to buy your product.
 
 Adela Martinez writes to notify me that ’I am looking for a foreigner who will stand as the next of kin to MR.Ruben Martin. After processing the paper works that will reflect you as the next of kin to our late client you will henceforth become the new and sole beneficiary of the total funds.’  She also claims that I can stand to inherit ‘US$30,000,000.00’While this could be a lucrative proposition, Adela, I was really looking for something along the lines of feedback on my articles and rants that run in the pages of Night Life magazine.  I’m impressed that you found an outlet that distributes Night Life magazine in Berlin, Germany, and even I didn’t know that they had such a wide swath of newspaper distribution.  While I could find some good uses for ’US$30,000,000.00’, I highly doubt that you have those sort of funds to give me.  I could buy a lot of drinks for myself and a few for other people with a couple of million.  You’ll just have to find another rube for your ’Spanish Prisoner’ scam.
 
 Nanchang Kyber emailed me with a subject line that read ’You can achieve the whole world with Viagra Pro’, yet her email itself had this to say: Leaving the assistants to clean up and hide the wreckage of the alloy-resonance generator, he gathered all their lab notebooks “for security reasons,” and later destroyed them. The famed inventor liked Co think he was in control of his life.
“Or do you simply miss our fascinating company?” Juno inquired with an abrasive snort. “Perhaps you grew lonely after so much time by yourself.”
She grinned. Selim had taught them how to live by the most austere means, yet whenever they captured supplies from their enemies, the outlaws celebrated. Within an hour, the festivities would begin.’  While I consider myself something of an outlaw, I’m not sure how this is relevant to my recent rants on rules about women (‘Perpetual Estrogen’) and the value of silence (‘Quiet Time Or Else’!).  And while I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, I have no goddamned idea what an alloy-resonance generator is.  Thanks for writing in, though!
 
 So what have I learned from my repeated attempts to get a once-a-month mail column going?  Theory A)With the miracle of the internet, there are still idiots out there who think that some poor sap will fall for buying snake-oil boner fuel and get-rich-quick schemes.  Theory B)Nobody reads this goddamned column in Night Life magazine.  Theory C)There IS a readership for this column, but the readers are too goddamned lazy to interact with said author.  Theory D)There IS a readership for this column, but the readers are either too cheap or don’t have access to a computer, and therefore, the email capabilities offered by the World Wide Interweb.  Theory E)Don’t ask for readers to email you because it’s a waste of time.  Theory F)You’re reading this right now, and you have no idea what I’m talking about and I’m astonished that you’ve read this far. 
 I could go off on a blind rampage here and swear never to do a mail column again, but I never say never.  If you want to send me an email, great.  If not, then go fuck yourself.  I will say that I’m never going to beseech my readership to write in again but I will respond to any emails sent to me.  On to other matters.  A massive announcement!
 Starting in July, Big Words I Know By Heart will be expanding to the realm of a radio show.  I’ll be hosting my own pod cast under the same name online with special guests including Buffalo musicians, artists, writers, businessmen etc as well as reading some of my tirades in the hopes of reaching a larger audience.  My hope is that I can draw more people to the print column and draw the print column people to the pod cast radio show.  Look for the Big Words I Know By Heart radio show online starting next month on www.thinktwiceradio.com.  And as always, you can find out more about my work by clicking on over to www.tomfoolery4.wordpress.com.  Thanks for reading, damn you for not writing, and I’ll see you all next week in the pages of Night Life!
 
  Wondering if Buffalonians even know how to type,
   Tom ’disgruntled’ Waters  
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Knockin’ Em Dead: Monsters Of Verse Aftermath

June 18, 2008

While I wasn’t too happy with the elements (f you too, god!), we survived the brutal hail in time to bring in a rock star crowd at Desiderio’s on Broadway for our Monsters Of Verse performance. Carrie Gardner started out with a well-structured sampling of her new book, Evil Is A Terrific, Rubbery Goblet, Shaky Stage brought the house down with a great set of original compositions, and I did some of my nonsense for roughly 21 minutes. We had a great crowd, sold some books, sold some CDs, and generally partied like it was day that wasn’t a Monday. If you missed the show and you want to catch the readings in all their audial glory, click yourself over to:

http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/sue-marie/sue-marie.html

Many thanks to Jay, Bobby and the rest of the gang at Desiderio’s for letting us stage the event. Thanks also to Carrie Gardner, Shaky Stage, Rich, Sue and Josh at Think Twice Radio for sponsoring, recording and producing the event. And don’t forget the Think Twice web site, because as of next week, the Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour is going live! For comic enthusiasts like Shawn Buffum and other well-read intellectuals, I’ll have Don and Ian from Don’s Atomic Comics on for the first episode to talk comic books and other such geekery for the ‘legion of geeks’ that I belong to. ‘Nuff said.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I put in a good eight hours yesterday writing, schmoozing and freelancing and I have no intention of repeating it today, so check out the pics, have a great week and tune in next Monday for Big Words radio!

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‘Lancaster Feels Like Home To Me’ (aka ‘Love Letter To Lancaster’) hits My View today in The Buffalo News

June 10, 2008

     I was just telling Lindsay last night (after we got home from a marathon of registering gifts at Target and JC Penney’s for our wedding) that I really hoped the My View piece ran within the next week.  With the performance coming up in six days now, there’s no such thing as too much press to raise awareness.  And lo and behold, I checked the Buffalo News web site this morning to find out that my happy, ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’ style fluff piece grabbed some ink in the My View section.  If you’ve been following ‘Big Buffalo I Know By Heart’ on YourHub, you saw it there first over a month and a half ago in it’s entirety.  If you haven’t, then pick up a copy of the News on stands or click yourself over to:

http://www.buffalonews.com/opinion/myview/story/366572.html

     I’m still upset at any hint of extra business that Ronny’s Takeout might get from gaining mention in the article and would like to stress again that I’m never ordering wings, pizza or anything else from them.  My buddy Ron and I ordered some wings from Desiderio’s on Sunday and they were top notch.  Not quite as perfect as they are when we order in the restaurant, but they’re getting within a stone’s throw of it.  I’ll give the takeout batch a 7 out of 10, which is still head and shoulders above whatever passes for competition out here. 

     I was also ecstatic to find my reviewer’s copy of Too Cool To Be Forgotten in my mailbox yesterday.  I tore through it in one sitting and punched up a 400 word review on spec for Jeff Simon (the arts editor at the News who, frankly, needs no introduction).  I’m crossing my fingers that the book review makes the grade.  As for my print interview with Alex Robinson, that’s found a home with a paper/web empire I haven’t worked with yet in Buffalo.  Any guesses?  Well I’m not telling yet.  I’m really excited, though.  It seems like whoever reads these sites only has the attention span to digest two to three posts per week, and there’s already so much going on that I don’t want the announcement to get lost in the mix, so I’ll wait until I get back from vacation.  But let’s just say that I’m crossing the pond in alternative journalism and that there are great new allegiences on the ho-Rising.  Hmph, ho-Rising isn’t a word, is it?  Oh well… 

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Monday Big Words Simulcast! Shameless Promotional Whoring 2008 Edition on stands AND right here!

June 9, 2008

Morning!

As I’m sure you know by now, we’re just SEVEN days away from the Monsters Of Verse concert at Desiderio’s next Monday.  I’m really glad that Carrie Gardner and I are finally going to have a chance to work together on a performance as we’ve been talking about it for almost four years now!  I can’t tell you how important this is to us, so if you can make the show, by all means, do it.  The new issue of Night Life is on stands with a Big Words edition of ‘Shameless Promotional Whoring 2008’.  In the interest of tipping the scales in our favor, I’m also going to publish the piece right here, right now.  Also, I’ll be going on vacation from this Wednesday until next Wednesday, so I won’t be anywhere near civilization until Monday.  Seeya at the show (hopefully),

Tom Waters

Shameless Promotional Whoring 2008 Edition: One Night Only!

Yeah, you read the headline right, one night only. As you may or may not know, I’m getting married this year, which means that my writing career is taking a back seat for fiscal year 2008. I don’t have the time, money, energy or inclination to launch a book this year. I’ve got a finished one, don’t get me wrong (it’s called Slapstick & Superego), and I’m halfway through the book after that, but you won’t be seeing my next book until some time in the spring of 2009. However, as of this publication date (June 9th), you and I are exactly ONE WEEK away from what will probably be the only public performance I’ll be doing this year. Next Monday (June 16th), I’ll be sharing the stage with renowned poet Carrie Gardner and Shaky Stage, a helluva great band who got their start out in Alden. Here’s the official release:

Carrie Gardner (renowned poet and author of Evil Is A Terrific, Rubbery Goblet) presents a FREE evening of unprecedented entertainment the likes of which Buffalo has never seen before with a reading from her breakout, runaway smash hit book, Evil Is A Terrific, Rubbery Goblet (Authorhouse). The evening will open with a reading from Carrie, a performance from the band Shaky Stage, and close out with a rant or two from local author, bar reviewer and area goofball Tom Waters. All three powerhouse acts will be schlepping and signing their wares (books, CDs, etc.) throughout the evening. Attendance is free and multiple book and CD purchases are strongly recommended. Drinks and phenomenal food will be available from the crack team of culinary masterminds at Desiderio’s on Broadway. Come thirsty, come hungry, and bring many wads of cash for all out consumption and the entertainment extravaganza of the decade, no, better yet, a lifetime! Do not miss this once in a lifetime experience! You’ll regret it for the rest of your life if you do!

If you’ve been to one of my readings before, you know by now that anything can happen and that a great time is had by all. If you haven’t picked up a copy of my last collection of rants, If They Can’t Take A Joke, then now is the perfect time because I’ll be selling and signing the last batch of first edition hardcovers for $20. Carrie will be selling her book for $10. I’m not really sure how much Shaky Stage will be selling their Cds for, but they last time I saw them play live, they were giving away free copies for crowd interaction. So #1, admission is free (and I know Night Life readers love free anything because they come out in droves for it and I‘ve seen it). #2, you’re getting three amazing acts in one night, #3, we’ll be giving away some free stuff and #4, this is the ONLY time I’ll be performing any of my rants on stage in Buffalo this year. What more reason do you need?

Round up your friends, your girlfriends, your pets, and your enemies and meet us out next week for some strong drink, great food and an evening of entertainment that you won’t soon forget. Who knows? Once the night is over, you may need acupuncture or deep psychotherapy to remove the memory from your brain bank. I guarantee you a great time. And if the Night Life troops can fill the bar, I’ll give away a signed hardcover to one of you wonderful swag-hounds.

I’ve been tinkering away on this column for almost two years now and I’m pretty pleased with the niche impact it’s had on reaching a new and unusual audience. And as a megalomaniac, it’s always nice to meet my readers up close and personal and get their two cents while they’re buying me shots. If it’s been your life’s dream to buy me a shot, now is your chance. I’ll be hanging out at the bar swilling Tullamore Dew and pitchers of Coors Light (or as they call it at Desiderio’s, ‘the tom waters special’) all night before I go up on stage, so if you want to hang out and have a great time, I’ll see you there. And after a few doubles of good Irish whiskey, I can’t be held responsible from a legal standpoint for my actions on stage.

So to summarize: next Monday, Desiderio’s, 8pm SHARP! Bring some cash, bring some friends and get ready to take part in the triple threat all out bash of the summer. Are you listening, Buffalo? I’ll see you next week. You might want to take off of work on Tuesday to recover. Make it out in record numbers and perhaps me and the gang at Night Life will do something special for the Big Words 2 year anniversary.

Seeya at Desi’s,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! 2 Weeks to Monsters Of Verse/3 Weeks Until Big Words Radio!

June 2, 2008

     It’s really bizaare how these short forays back into creative activity gather their own momentum, isn’t it?  The new material continues throughout June in the pages of Night Life magazine with ‘The Great Recession’, one of my shorter pieces about the rise in gas prices and the effect it’s had on the economy which, unfortunately, was rejected as a My View submission at the Buffalo News.  You can’t win ’em all, and sometimes, they’ll reject pieces that were too similar to recently published works.  I don’t read the News every day, so perhaps someone beat me to the punch.  At any rate, I’m running the piece in the Big Words column because I think it makes some valid points and it’s a subject that everyone can relate to, and that all of us have been griping about for months.

     Moving on to other business, the Monsters Of Verse show at Desiderio’s in Lancaster (8 PM) is two weeks from today (Monday the 16th)!  Carrie Gardner, Shaky Stage and myself are starting to get really excited about the performance and Carrie and I have decided to make the rounds at the Center For Inquiry open literary reading this Wednesday at 7 pm to see some old faces, meet some fresh ones and promote the event to a demographic that’s perfect for it.    If you received an Evite or a Myspace event invite, please take the time to RSVP either way so that myself and the crack team at Desi’s have an idea of what sort of crowd to expect/prepare for.  I also mentioned during the middle of last week that Think Twice Radio will be sponsoring the event and recording the entire performance for future podcasting purposes, so if you show up, clap loudly and laugh heartily! 

     Also, now that I’ve agreed to take Think Twice up on their offer for my own radio hour, I’ve been putting the pieces together for the first three or four shows.  Guests have been booked, formulas have been employed, formats have been cobbled together and three weeks from yesterday (Sunday the 22nd), the Big Words I Know By Heart radio show will be born!  May god have mercy on us all.  I don’t want to let too much out of the bag too soon, but I’ve got some big plans for the show.  You won’t want to miss out on the first episode, I can guarantee you that. 

     And in case you missed it, I logged a rather extensive play-by-play on the David Fincher critique I’ve been laboring away on for the last year and a half.  If you’re a fan of the director (or just curious as to what the hell I’m talking about), scroll down to ‘Finding Fincher’. 

     And that’s all the news that’s fit to print this week.  Scoop up your copy of Night Life, fill out your dance card on Evite and Myspace Events, and count the days down until the Monsters Of Verse and the Big Words I Know By Heart radio hour.  A storm’s brewing over Buffalo, and some call it Hurricane Buy My Book!  Just kidding.  Talk to you next week (or sooner),

Tom Waters

     

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Finding Fincher

June 1, 2008

After a long break, I’ve started researching my critical piece on the life and works of director David Fincher this week.  In some respects, I’ve been working on this paper since 2002, and I feel guilty that I haven’t delivered any material yet to Wil Forbis, my editor at Acid Logic, who has been kind enough to supply me with some source material (Dark Eye by James Swallow and a newer version of Se7en on DVD).  I also started reading Sharon Waxman’s Rebels On The Backlot this week, which, while flawed, is a fascinating read that I’d highly recommend to any film enthusiast chronicalling the potent era in the ’90s when auteur directors came back into style (Tarantino, Spike Jonze, Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell, Wes Anderson, and of course, Fincher).  After speaking with friends this week, the parrallels to Easy Riders, Raging Bulls are obvious.  Waxman may or may not have used the book about ’70s visionary directors (Scorcese, Friedken, Spielberg, Lucas, etc) as a template, but there’s a definite mirror effect.  It could just be attributed to the cyclical nature of the movie business, but both make for compelling reads. 

     I really enjoy this type of writing (working on the bio format), but it’s aggravating in many respects.  With an essay or a rant, I can fire out my ideas and find a conclusion oftentimes in one sitting.  I also feel obligated to find some factoids and uncover information about the director that hasn’t been found elsewhere, which is also driving me nuts.  I was honored when Wil emailed me to let me know that both my Philip Seymour Hoffman article and the Bret Easton Ellis critique were referenced on Wikipedia.  I spend more time than I should on Wikipedia on whims, and as a new database, the concept of it fascinates me.  But when does the Fincher piece end?  And now that whoever the contributes out there have deemed to reference my work, I feel an obligation to do the best possible job that I can on the piece for the sake of Wikipedia and more importantly, David Fincher. 

     When I researched and wrote my findings about Bret Easton Ellis, I immersed myself in all things Ellis for three months, reaching a point where I could recite his life, his books and his movies from front to back.  I got to a critical juncture where I literally couldn’t stand reading anything more about him, at which point I knew I was done.  That, and there was a finite amount of interviews and features on the author online, and I reached the limit.  The problem with the movie industry is that there is almost too much information.  Producer interviews, cinematographer interviews, fan sites, technical articles on the technology that Fincher employs.  Maybe it’s not a problem, but there is so MUCH information out there that it’s tough to find the important factoids and sift them out from the rest.  I’d like to be comprehensive and leave nothing to chance.   Watching Zodiac for a seventh or eighth time this week, I’m identifying a bit with Robert Graysmith’s obsessive, note compiling nature.  Where does it end?  And what one anecdote or candid interview will set the bell off in my head that tells me I’m done?  I’ve got 16 pages of ten point font footnotes and six pages of the article that I’ve started.  A vast sea of information split up by personal information, specific movie information, Fincher quotes and the ten million projects that he’s been attached to. 

     And for as much of a long shot as it poses, I really would like to interview Fincher when I’m done.  I corresponded with author James Swallow (Dark Eye) for the sake of tracking Fincher down and he’s at a dead end as well.  He wanted to update his book on Fincher and couldn’t get a hold of the director when they originally sat down for the first edition.  While Fincher has conducted more than his share of interviews in the last year, it’s unclear why he chose the magazines and web sites that he did.  They aren’t all prestigious sites or top name interviewers.  I’ve logged on to any tangentially related web site or article post and put the word out that I’m dying to speak with the director.  And now that so much time has elapsed since Zodiac, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button quickly approaches.  Well, not that quickly.  The film is releasing December 19th and the Oscar buzz on the film is already into overdrive.  I can’t finish a piece that will be obsolete in five months, so I’d rather wait. 

     In the mean time, I’m going to finish up on Rebels On The Backlot and then re-read the chapters on Fincher on my lap in front of my keyboard for the purpose of logging the notes into this lofty, unreasonably (for me) large article.  I’ll also continue to comb the web for podcast interviews, critical expositions on the last round of films, and on-the-set anecdotes from Benjamin Button.  I don’t think I could ever write a full-scale biography book because my brain would overload.  I’m not built for it, and I’m too much of a perfectionist to survive the ordeal.  I would rather compose a consise, clever biographical essay that hits the key points, discovers some new findings and travels a theme that hasn’t already been established and reinforced over the years.  

     Goddamnit Fincher, how does a decent journalist get a hold of you?!  There’s a small glimmer of hope that he’ll permit an interview after so much research has been invested into his work.  If there’s one personality trait that shines through in my research, it’s that Fincher is a perfectionist, expecting nothing less than 100% from his actors, accepting zero compromise from the studios he works with, and constantly critiquing himself harder than any journalist or cinephile ever could. 

     Since I’ve covered an important actor from my generation (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a controversial writer (Bret Easton Ellis) and I’m closing in on a once-in-a-lifetime director (Fincher), I’ve entertained the notion of writing a bio piece on a stand up comic or a comedy troupe next.  I’ve always wanted to write a piece about Andrew Dice Clay, but there’s nothing in the way of research out there.  All the streams of info have withered up online, and while I’m still interested, his popularity has all but dissappeared (aside from his attachment to the Opie and Anthony show, which, honestly, I’m no longer interested in).  My other project is The Kids In The Hall, so I’ll probably start research on them some time next year.  With my contacts and connections at The Buffalo News, I regret that I didn’t get to interview Scott Thompson recently when they appeared in Buffalo as part of their national tour.  I’ve blathered enough for one day, though.  This is a discussion and a project for another time.  Again, if any Fincher fanatics out there have any leads on reaching the director, I’m all ears.  I’m willing to give up first time exclusive rights to the finished feature article or the interview for a little help in finding Fincher. 

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 77 on stands, seeya in two weeks!

May 12, 2008

This will be my last post for about two weeks, so soak it up!  I’m leaving for Rushford this Wednesday on vacation and thankfully, there’s no phones, no television, no computers and no aggravation!  Just some Bob Dylan, some fine cigars and a few tumblers of chilled straight Kentucky bourbon to ease my pickled head for the rest of the calendar year.

Anyhow, the new Big Words column assaults the newstands today in Night Life with part 1 of ‘Perpetual Estrogen’, a categorical look at the strange quirks and foibles that the entire female species have in common.  Pick it up because you’re gonna love it. 

I’m going to keep this update short because I’m noticing that I threw up three posts last week here and two or three over on the YourHub site.  If you haven’t yet, feel free to scroll down and get caught up.  And I just posted some pics up on my Myspace account for the wedding tuxedo fitting and afterbash that me and the boys went to over the weekend.  If you want a quick link to see how much weight I’ve lost so far for the big day, click on over to:

http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewPicture&friendID=425036&albumId=2706344

And I may be leaving town, but the print articles won’t be leaving with me.  ‘Perpetual Estrogen’ part two concludes next Monday in Night Life and you can bet your sweet bippy that a Club Watch review or two will appear in print while I’m gone.  So long for now, city dwellers, cause this country mouse is skipping town! 

Have a great week,

Tom Waters 

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Acid Logic Update/Acid Logic Book Out!/Sneak Peak at ‘Perpetual Estrogen’!

May 9, 2008

Oofa!,

This month’s outstanding issue of Acid Logic is up online with the final, completed version of the new fan favorite ‘Perpetual Estrogen’.  You can read it in it’s entirety by clicking over to:

http://www.acidlogic.com/perpetual_estrogen.htm

     For a categorical essay that takes some pretty hard shots at the female species, responses from the opposite sex have been overwhelmingly positive because, as they tell me, ‘it’s all true!’.  The very same essay will be appearing in Night Life (in two parts) starting this Monday, so if you like it as much as my newsletter subscribers did, grab a copy for posterity’s sake and show it to all your friends!

     And speaking of posterity, Wil Forbis (the editor in chief and creator of the Acid Logic e-zine) has released his first book compiling ten years of his best work with Acid Logic!  He’s an unbelievably sharp writer in his own right, but he can describe the book better himself:

Folks, my new book, ‘Acid Logic: a Decade of Humorous Writing on Pop Culture, Trash Cinema and Rebel Music’ is now available from fine Internet booksellers, brick-and-mortar bookstores and the author himself! 
 
What is ‘Acid Logic’?  Why its 288 pages of humorous writing on film, music and the world we live in.  It’s celebrity profiles, feature writing, reviews, interviews and fiction. Look no further than the back cover blurb for more details! 
 
‘From the pages of Acidlogic.com, underground author Wil Forbis collects his most shocking and funniest material into one volume! Gasp at comic essays on the impending threat of cloning and the commodified brilliance of the blaxploitation film movement. Swoon over profiles of the entertainment industry’s most eccentric stars, from adult film auteur Doris Wishman to ninja actor Sho Kosugi to shock punk GG Allin. Thrill to interviews with cultural stalwarts like hard rock drummer Rikki Rockett, actor Curtis ‘Booger’ Armstrong and horror director Stuart Gordon. Squeal with delight at fiction ranging from the horrifying to the absurd. THE ACID LOGIC REVOLUTION HAS ARRIVED!!!’
 
But that’s not all!  Here’s what some fellow writers have to say about the book and my writing:
 
‘Wil is a cynic’s cynic, but in the depths of his filthy black heart he hasn’t forgotten how to love. Or how to write.’ 
Mike Daisey, monologuist (‘How Theater Failed America’) and author (’21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com ‘) 
 
‘Forbis has that rare thing, an open mind, with tons of random stuff flowing through it, and a crow’s eye for the glittering oddities of pop culture.’
John Richardson, author ‘My Father the Spy,’ ‘In the Little World’
 
‘It’s nice to see that not every talented young writer has forsaken webzines for blogs. Sure, he’s also blogging (quite entertainingly), but Wil Forbis also has a zine that looks very spiffy.’
 Daniel Radosh, author ‘Rapture Ready!: Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture,’ contributor ‘The New Yorker,’ ‘Playboy’ magazines.
 
‘If any sense is going to be made of a culture dominated by a violent movies, noisy music and silly TV shows, it’s going to come from guys like Wil Forbis who like violent movies, noisy music and silly TV shows.’ 
John Saleeby, contributor ‘National Lampoon,’ ‘Classic Rock’ magazines.
 
‘Whether it’s pop culture, music, or most terrifying of all to me, films, there’s one man out there ripping it all up.  Wil Forbis is the triple threat of the internet, and anyone who’s writing online should be watching their rearview mirror in white-knuckled panic for the lunatic generalissimo of the website no one wanted to know existed–Acid Logic.’
Steve Anderson, columnist ‘Reel Advice From the Video Store Guy’
 
To top it off, the cover and interior illustrations were lovingly rendered by acclaimed underground artist Wayno!
 
So how do you get yourself a copy?  You can order from Amazon by clicking the following link:
http://www.amazon.com/Acid-Logic-Humorous-Writing-Culture/dp/1434357007/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1209704613&sr=8-1

You can also order a copy direct from the publisher:
http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail~bookid~47272.aspx
 
(Hint: it’s slightly cheaper from AuthorHouse.com, unless you have Amazon prime or qualify for Amazon super saver shipping (orders of $25 or more.))
Barnes & Noble coming soon.
 
AND, if you’re in the Los Angeles area, or plan to be, hit me up directly and I can get you a copy of the book at the publisher price ($12) without any additional postage costs.  I’m not in this for the money, folks.  I just want to bring the joy of acid logic to your life.  Just reply to this e-mail, or e-mail forbisthemighty@hotmail.com or track me down in person etc.

                                                                                       -Wil Forbis

     As an editor, there is none better.  He’s put up with me for longer than any other editor I’ve worked with, and that’s a testament all to itself.  Believe me, I can tell you some stories.  I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the book and give it a thorough read through.  So show some support and buy a copy, damnit! 

     Oh, and lest I forget, the Irishman bar review hit Gusto today.  Grab a copy of The Buffalo News while it’s on stands!  Have a great weekend,

Tom Waters 

    

 

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A Lot Of Effort For A Tiny Bit Of Progress

May 8, 2008

I spent almost all of my final day off before vacation getting back to my neglected duty as co-editor/compiler of the Buffalo Anthology.  Emails were sent out and responded to, bios were updated, and I posted some new information along with a slew of contributor links on the site.  In the event that you have trouble finding the site link here (over on the right towards the bottom somewhere), you can just click over to:

www.buffaloanthology.blogspot.com

     -if you want to see what I’m talking about.  Since this is the first anthology I’ve ever worked on, there’s a hell of a learning curve.   And even though the publication date has been re-slated for 2010, I spent a little time yesterday researching some local publishing houses.  I did, however, put the feelers out to BlazeVox, a local publisher of eccentric, eclectic and critically lauded prose and poetry.  They seem like a perfect fit, so I’m crossing my fingers. 

     Even after spending the majority of Tuesday on the project, it feels like I’ve only tackled a small piece of the stockpile of submissions in two seperate email boxes.  And thanks to some PM coffee and the late night insomnia that accompanied it, I wrote some new essays Monday night and the following Tuesday morning.  ‘Sawed Off Sam Walton’ is a tell-all piece about spending literally half my life in retail without getting into any gritty details.  ‘The Great Recession’ is a piece about the beginning of our national recession and a few parallels to The Great Depression, obviously.  I submitted the latter piece to the My View column of The Buffalo News.  After freelancing locally for the last seven years, I’m putting more of a focus on getting paid for my publications instead of finding print in prestige weeklies and the like.  I broke my teeth on the free press, and as far as I’m concerned, that ship has sailed.  There are plenty of other young upstarts and egomaniacal professors who can fill the pages of the free press without missing a beat. 

     I found it interesting while leafing through this week’s ArtVoice that a noted college professor who founded his own publishing company was ‘interviewing’ an author from the very same publishing house.  How can you write a non-biased interview if you have a vested interest in the subject and the book?  And how can you publish said piece and think that the rest of the town is blissfully ignorant of the connection?  I can’t be the only person who put two and two together.  There’s something to be said for the erosion of journalistic integrity.  I’ll get around to writing something about that, too.  The level of cronyism and ‘who you know’ journalism in this town astounds me sometimes.  That’s one of the main reasons why we started the Buffalo Anthology project in the first place.  There are a million talented writers in Buffalo whose voices aren’t heard because they aren’t part of the established tribe.  Some day that might change.     

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 76 on stands, happy Cinco De Mayo!

May 5, 2008

Doesn’t it just suck that all the great drinking holidays fell on a Monday this year?  This makes the third in a row that I didn’t go out for (St. Patty’s, Dyngus Day, and now this), which really chaps my ass.  Who wants to start their week off with a holiday hangover?  Ah well….

The new material rolls out in Night Life today with ‘Force Feedback’, a Night Life exclusive geared towards getting all of you deadbeats off your feet and onto you computers contributing to the column’s monthly mail bag.  Since launching the Big Words I Know By Heart column back in November of ’06, I’ve only gotten a handful of emails and comments from readers.  I want to find out who my readers are and what they have to say!  And if there’s anything (and I mean ANYTHING) that you’re curious about that I haven’t answered in a year and a half of rants, ask away!  I would really, really like to do a mail column at the end of June, so get off your ass and email me with any questions, comments and rants to:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

In case you missed the mid-week update last Wednesday, Episode 58 of The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal is up and running with yours truly sitting in for a record-breaking seventh time as co-host.  Hal and I went completely off the reservation for two hours on local topics like Elliot Spitzer, the Chippewa bar bouncer beatdowns, Canadians and a great many national issues.  Listen in or download the new episode and vote on it at:

www.powunclehal.com

In the mean time, I’m counting down to my one week of vacation at Rushford Lake next Wednesday.  After I get back, I’ll be heading into the radio studio for Susan Marie’s ‘This Is Not An Apple’ program for a lengthy and candid interview on Tuesday, May 27th.  And for those of you who are looking for an update on the Buffalo anthology that Alycia Ripley and myself have been cobbling together, I threw a new post up over there, too.  Read all about it at:

www.buffaloanthology.blogspot.com

That’s all I’ve got for you for today.  I’ve got a few good ideas that I’m going to try and hammer out tomorrow for June’s columns.  Keep reading, grab a Night Life and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SEND ME SOME EMAILS FOR THE MAILBAG COLUMN!  I don’t ask for much that often, so help a brother out here….

Have a great week!

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 75 on stands, Mailbag Questions needed!

April 28, 2008

This Monday marks the last of the recycled archival material.  This week’s issue of Night Life magazine hits the stands with the conclusion to ‘Prometheus Packs A Zippo’, a no-nonsense account of the year and a half leading up to the release of If They Can’t Take A Joke.  You can grab your free copy at most bars, clubs, and from what I’ve noticed lately, Eckhard stores. 

Next week is all about the new rants.  I’m starting off the month with ‘Force Feedback’, a Big Words print column exclusive IMPLORING all of you to contribute to the monthly mail column.  I’d still love to interact with my readers in a public forum, so do me a favor and if you haven’t before, send me ANY and ALL questions and comments to: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com.  Email me with anything you want, but send that feedback out! 

Plans are also in the works for a public reading at one of my favorite venues some time in June, but I’m not going to blow the lid on that one until everything is finalized.  I’ll also be going into the Uncle Hal studios this week to mark my return to cringe radio, which is guaranteed to be a hoot and a half.  The new episode of the Pissed Off World of Uncle Hal should be up by the tail end of next week, so keep checking back at: powunclehal.com. 

That’s all I’ve got for you for this week.  June’s columns are half-way done and with a block of Club Watch reviews taken care of, I’m planning on knocking out the other two later in the week.  Again, do me a favor and get any questions you might have in to: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com.  I’m not asking for lip service here.  Just shoot me a question, a comment, whatever you want and it’ll run in the late June print column.  Thanks,

Tom Waters 

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 74 on stands, Think Twice Radio Gig Booked with Susan Marie

April 21, 2008

     The first stretch of the last of the recycled archival material rolls out today in Night Life with part one of ‘Prometheus Packs A Zippo’, an autobiographical tell-all that brings most readers up to the near-present day on where the rest of my life has gone.  Grab it while it’s on stands.

     I was a busy little bee this weekend, penning another new rant (‘Double Barrel Diplomacy’) about the Canadian Invasion in Buffalo, tinkering on a new blog for the YourHub site (‘Love Letter To Lancaster’) that I trimmed down to 600 words afterwards for a shot at a My View column and then covering Riley Street Station for an upcoming Gusto Club Watch bar review.  A very productive weekend, writing wise.  Since I’m going on vacation in about three weeks, I’m trying to get as many bar reviews in as I can so that there’s no lapse in my regularly scheduled publication frequency in Gusto.  The extra paychecks don’t hurt, either.  After my third bar review this Thursday, I’ll be posting pics from all three assignments up on the YourHub site for a sneak peak at the venues before they hit print publication.  That address (again) is:

http://buffalo.yourhub.com/~tomwaters

     And last but not least, I’ll be doing a long overdue guest spot on Think Twice Radio with Susan Marie.  We were originally going to do an interview in July and it just got away from us, so I’ll be heading into the studio late in May.  The web site (for your curiosity/edification) is www.thinktwiceradio.com.  From what she says, the site is up to something like 1,000 hits a day, so that’s some solid exposure.  I’m still beyond psyched about heading back to the Uncle Hal studios this Thursday, but Think Twice should be a hell of a lot of fun, too.  That’s all I’ve got for you for this week.  Make sure to hop on over to YourHub sometime on Friday afternoon.  Cheers,

Tom Waters

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Uncle Hal Reunion Imminent! Special Interest Groups Express Extreme Dislike and Disdain!

April 17, 2008

A summit was reached today and Hal has agreed (against his better judgement) to let me back onto the show sometime next week.  You can expect to hear the episode in roughly two week’s time.  You can also expect biting news, off-color comments that are guarenteed to offend, and a back-and-forth chemistry that puts Reiner and Brooks to shame.  My buddy Brendan was going to post a link to one of the historic episodes, but found that it was removed from the site.  How badly did I piss some special interest group off to make that happen?  For a show that prides itself on pushing the envelope, I’m honored that we pushed it until it spontaneously combusted.  You’re definitely not going to miss the return visit.  I’ll let you know when it’s up and running.  In the mean time, you can catch up on some recent episodes and get a feel for the bombastic nature of the show by clicking over to:

www.powunclehal.com

-Plugola!

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 73 on stands etc.

April 14, 2008

This week in Night Life magazine you’ll find the gripping, spine-tingling, teeth jarring (?) conclusion to ‘Why It’s A Good Idea Not To Taunt The Amish’, my look at the symptoms of a runaway throwaway society.  Scoop it up on stands today. 

And with three new columns down for May, I’ve only got one to go.  I’ve been brainstorming for the last few days, but I’m down for the count right now with either hay fever or a bug I picked up towards the end of last week.  Make sure to check YourHub later this week as I’ll be posting a new blog along with some adorable baby and kitten pictures in an effort to dispel the widely held notion that my life is nothing but whiskey swilling, beer guzzling debauchery.  5% of it involves kittens and babies, so you’ll get to see that side of me (if you dare!).  That’s all I’ve got for you today.  I’ll talk to you all in a few days,

Tom Waters 

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Crass Menagerie (?) Back Under Construction!

April 12, 2008

This is probably confusing, but the book after the next book is back underway.  You might know that my next book, ‘Slapstick & Superego’ is complete.  For a multitude of reasons (most of them having to do with finances and time), I won’t be releasing it until sometime in the spring of 2009.  It’ll be the first collection I’ve ever released that’s comprised entirely of rants and essays.  No filler, no projects, no interviews, no fluff.  I’m really excited about it, and as a body of work, it’s the best collection I’ve written from front to back.  We’ll both just have to wait another twelve months or so to enjoy it together. 

     The book after that was tentatively titled ‘Crass Menagerie’.  I thought that was a pretty snappy name for a collection until I found out a few months ago that there was (or is) a band and a literary magazine by the same name.  I’m not sure how I sit with that.  This makes me think I should change the name, but I’ll mull it over.  After all, I’ve got a year plus to cogitate on that dilemna.  Anyway, I wrote my third new essay this week and it’s a corker.  The birth of a new trilogy (if not quadrilogy or cinco-ilogy and so on).  It’s called ‘Perpetual Estrogen’, and it’s a categorical essay about some universal truths among women.  It was a hell of a lot of fun to write and I stopped short at five rules because each rule chewed up a lot of space.  That leaves me with one more column to whip up for the month of May and 84 pages into ‘Crass Menagerie’.  Have I mentioned that it’s great to be writing again? 

Take a second and let me know what you think about the title dilemna.  Post me a comment on the site or drop me a line at: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com.  I’m very conflicted about the situation…

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The Block’s Finally Over!/Acid Logic Update

April 10, 2008

After almost eleven cursed months without so much as a coherent sentence on a blank page, I finally clawed my way out of the block today and wrote my first full length essay, ‘Quiet Time Or Else’.  It’s a little rough around the edges, but it usually takes me a few projects to get back into the groove.  It feels damned good just to flex the old cranial muscles again after the lights were out for so long, if that makes any sense.  I made a personal vow to muster up four new columns for next month’s slate of Night Life print articles and I intend on honoring it.  So in another two weeks, perhaps those of you on the bi-monthly newsletter list can get a sneak peak at some of the new stuff.  For those of you who’ve been on the list for the last few years, you know full well that when it rains, it pours.  Enough said on that topic for now.

And since we’re into a new month, Wil Forbis has whipped together a new issue of Acid Logic featuring ‘Underwear On The Outside Looking In’, one of my continuing takes on the world of comics.  Check it out by clicking over to:

http://www.acidlogic.com/underwear_the_outside.htm

That’s all I’ve got for today, but keeping tuning back for new content.  I’ll be snapping some pictures tonight and posting a new blog over on YourHub sometime tomorrow.  Thank christ this block is over.  The last few months it was really starting to wear on me.  Talk to you soon,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 69 on stands/Happy St. Patty’s!

March 17, 2008

Whelp, this year I’m sitting St. Patrick’s day out.  Monday isn’t exactly the best day of the week to get rip roaring drunk and we’re planning on heading back to Desiderio’s tomorrow for a long-awaited return.  After the six-hour marathon last year at the Hidden Shamrock promoting Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish (which you can still buy from the link on this site, hint hint), I could use a quiet St. Patrick’s.  At any rate, the new issue of Night Life is out today with a Big Words installment of ‘The Joy Of Banana Bread’, an ode to food that I wrote a few years back from Zany Hijinx.  Grab a copy while you can!