Archive for the ‘first person last straw’ Category


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:

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,


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:

-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:

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  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


Monday Big Words Update!: Obstruction

August 10, 2009


The Pheonix Resistance show went less than satisfactory for me on the recording end or the band while they were performing last Friday. Blame it on the Big Words poltergeist or band-related drama, but I’ll be reviewing the audio this week to find out if portions of the show are worth salvaging or if we’ll have to scrap the whole evening and start over from scratch.

And I’m officially blocked, so, much like previous blocks, I won’t be updating on the site too often aside from Mondays until further notice. I’ll be spending a lot of my down time in the coming months promoting Slapstick & Superego along with working on the remaining submissions that Alycia Ripley and I have left for the Buffalo Anthology Project, so stay tuned here for S & S updates and feel free to visit the anthology site over at for any relevant information regarding that. Aside from that, I’m sure I’ve got twelve to fourteen months of a creative blackout to look forward to, so I’ll spare both of us the anguish/aggravation of giving you a play-by-play on it.

Night Life magazine hits the stands this week with the conclusion to ‘A Preacher, A Rabbi and a Minister Go Into A Bank At The Same Time’, my essay from First Person, Last Straw about the perils of organized religion. That’s all I’ve got for this week. If something else pops up, I’ll be sure to drop you all a line.

Take care,

Tom Waters


Monday Big Words Update! Week 50 on stands/’The Docker Bums’ right here!

November 6, 2007

With just two weeks away from the year anniversary of the column, this week’s issue of Night Life is running with ‘Food Stamp Feuds’ (from Zany Hijinx), a very old favorite from almost ten years ago about the categorical ridiculousness of talk shows.  With the lengthy nature of my blocks, I’m working on keeping the column stocked with fresh material for as long as I can until the muse strikes again.  And in case you missed it, here’s ‘Docker Bums’ (from First Person, Last Straw), a sound-off on the laziness of pre-sliced cheese cubes and other nonsensicals.  Have a great week and I’ll give you all a shout out next Monday,

Tom Waters

The Docker Bums

Now I’m not an American-basher by any means. Unlike Johnny Depp or any other notable celebrity who’s moved out of the country and passed judgment on the bulk of us, I don’t pick Western culture to shreds, but we’re starting to get really, really lazy. I realized this last week while I was in the frozen food section of a super store doing my grocery shopping and pondering the existence of precut cheese cubes. The fact that they were there bothered me greatly. There must be a market for precut cheese cubes. Is it really difficult to slice cheese into geometrically pleasing chunks? Is it time consuming? I don’t think so. And yet there must be a big market out there if the average consumer is willing to pay an extra buck fifty to get their cheese sliced in advance. It was a bit maddening, really. We’re getting lackadaisical here when we can’t cube our own cheese at home. We’re slacking. If this continues, the opposable digits we use to slice our own cheese will be replaced with a machine six or seven hundred years from now and our genetic process will weed said digits out of our DNA chain. I love cheese, I really do. That’s why it troubled me to see it prepackaged in the laziest fashion possible. I’ve even eaten pre-cubed cheese at other people’s houses. You may think that I’m running out of interesting things to write about, but bear with me. Microwave ovens have replaced regular ovens in a day to day cooking regimen. I’m almost completely and symbiotically dependent on my microwave. It was a sign of progress. Recently, I’ve gotten accustomed to my George Forman grill. Why heat up a hamburger on a pan when you’d just have to wash the pan and put it in the dishwasher? Now you can flash fry the thing, dump the grease bin, and move on with your life!

Some inventions are time savers and others just go to far, like peanut butter and jelly in one jar. That’s disgusting. Is it overly tedious to grab two jars out of a cupboard and mix it’s contents? Are people the world over collectively groaning because they can’t bear to grab a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly during one meal preparation? What’s become of us?

Maybe I never noticed it until I made steps to become self-reliant. Following this wheel of logic, we arrive at dishwasher cubes. I have little pumice sized stones that I drop into the reservoir for my washer. I used to use the powder stuff, but why bother now? It makes me weep to think about how much time it took to open the box, tilt the box of detergent towards the washer, and have to decide how much powder to put in. Now for a couple dollars more, I have a cube that I open up and drop in the washer. This is patently ridiculous.

Margarita mixes, bagged salads, and three step boxed casseroles. Making a drink is so time consuming, so why not just spend the extra five dollars and pour the whole thing out of one bottle? Who wants to go through the trouble of buying lettuce, carrots, and radishes when you can get it all in one bag with five hundred percent of your daily preservatives thrown in at no extra cost? Tired of going through the motions with your sheperd’s pie? We’ll do it for you! Dump the mix into a pan, add water and pre-cubed beef and you’ve got your very own beef stew! And it’s microwave friendly! I think we’re all sick of taking a can of soup out of the pantry, having to walk over to the can opener, open the damned thing, pour it into a bowl, and heat it. Now you just put a soup pod into the microwave, heat, eat, and throw it out! In another year, we’ll have soup pods that self destruct after they’re empty! It’ll save you the long trip to the garbage can.

I don’t think it’s all food either. Clip-on ties. Stain-guarded pants. The fashion disaster of skorts. If you don’t know how to tie a tie, ask someone to stick your head in a dishwasher and have them set it on “imbecile” for you. Tying a tie is not rocket science. Washing stains out of your khakis might be difficult, but is it that difficult? And skorts. At the risk of sounding like Jerry Seinfeild, it’s not a skirt, it’s not shorts! Don’t wear them, ever. I’m glad that fanny packs aren’t enjoying a heyday anywhere other than in Canada, so I’m hoping that skorts are over with as well.

It’s bad enough that people are too lazy to read book-sized books on a regular basis. We’d rather power-scan fifteen different running banners on a cable channel with a cute anchor woman feeding us factoids in a happy, non-threatening manner. We’d rather hop onto and catch up on world events in 2.5 minutes and sign off. Or read a blurb-filled magazine with happy looking pull quotes and pretty pictures. Enough is enough! How much lazier can we get?! This is out of control!

Western culture is turning into a Kubrick science fiction film. Maybe I like going through the routines and less time-saving motions of doing things for myself, but it’s good exercise. If we keep this shit up, people will be going terminally senile in their mid-30s because their minds are too goddamned idle. My grandfather used to wash his dishes by hand, if you can imagine such a thing. It was the one time out of the day that he had to think and turn the day’s events over in his head. There’s a Buddhist term for finding spiritual harmony in everyday functions and activities. I’m no Buddhist, but I like the concept. There are a million useless chores and tasks we go through everyday, but by injecting a little bit of joy into them, we elevate them to something more than mechanical boredom. Siddhana. That’s it. You’re not going to get that from Auto-opening your Pre-Sliced Monterey Jack Cubes and Insta-Melting them into your Turbo Soup and spilling them onto your stain guarded pants. For chrissakes.

this sign off powered by EssayWorks 7.1,

Tom “Generic Nickname” Waters


Monday Big Words Update! Week 47 on stands, War & Pizza right here!

October 15, 2007

With just five weeks left on the year long run for the ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ column in Night Life magazine, I’m shocked and suprised that a)its stayed in print this long without Night Life or myself getting sued and b)that its developing a following.  It’s hard to believe that its already been almost a year since Big Words launched in print.  Today also happens to be my three year anniversary with Lindsay, and that’s even more shocking.  Happy anniversary, honey!  Time flies…

At any rate, this week’s issue of Night Life holds ‘Why It’s A Good Idea Not To Taunt Your Cuisinart’ (from Crass Menagerie), a sequel of sorts to ‘Why It’s A Good Idea Not To Taunt The Amish’ regarding how technology has gotten far smarter than I will ever be.  Scoop it up on stands this week!  And in case you missed it, here’s ‘War & Pizza’ in its entirety (from First Person, Last Straw).  That’s all I’ve got for you this week.  We’re five weeks away from my goal.  I’ll talk to you all next Monday,

Tom Waters 

War & Pizza

I move at the speed of light. I have the ability to infiltrate the most heavily guarded compounds in Buffalo and I leave without a trace. And I see everyday citizens when their guard is down the most. That’s right, I’m a pizza delivery guy. Two months ago I was going out of my mind with free time from my day job. Two days off in a row was too much unscheduled time in one block. And then I thought about how both of my brothers (at one time in their lives) worked at Mazia’s Pizza in the hollow. So I went to Mazia’s and asked Rob (one of the owners) if they were looking for any help. While filling out the application, I thought about how unqualified I was for the driver position. I’ve got a D.U.I., I’ve never had a job as a driver, I’ve got a terrible sense of direction, I didn’t know their delivery area that well and I haven’t worked in a restaurant since the age of fourteen. After nagging him for a week, he told me he might have something. I started the following day.

Like a super hero, every Friday I change discreetly at my office job and bolt out at five o’clock with my alternate identity. I have to wear this really embarrassing white t-shirt that says ‘got pizza?’ on the front that makes my gut look even bigger than it is. I would feel about the same wearing a shirt that says ‘got dignity?’ on it with a huge uncircumcised penis on the back, but rules are rules. When I get to the place I have to slap a mobile sign on my car and spit on the suction cups to keep the sign from detaching and flapping back and forth for the duration of my shift (which it does anyway). Rob told me about some seven dollar cigarette adaptor (that we rent at the beginning of the shift) that the driver’s use to light the sign at night but, since I’m cheap, I’ve never brought it up and haven’t used it yet. And then it’s go speed racer, go.

My job there reminds me of a game, Crazy Taxi. You tear ass over to one section of town to drop someone off breaking any traffic laws that get in the way, pick someone else up and tear ass to the other section of town. That’s what we do for six straight hours. Run and gun. My first day I went bounding out of the car with each order, sprinting up the steps to make sure that the person I was delivering to got their food as quickly and efficiently as possible. Now I could care less, because you never know how well or how poorly someone is going to tip. There are a few indicators, but you can never be too sure. Plus I’m not wet behind the ears anymore, and it no longer takes me forty five minutes to find the tough locales. Like any job you get better with practice, and it’s a tough old learning curve.

Nobody tells you that the Town Of Clarence (as well as the surrounding delivery area of Newstead, Akron, and Lancaster) has duplicate streets. And through trial and error you get to know your area. Roads that change names halfway through. Roads that seem to run from one end of New York State to the other. And neighborhoods that are so new that they aren’t on any existing map. I’ve been to places in my town that I never knew existed and I’ve lived here all my life. Akron’s fun too. No, actually, it’s a goddamned nightmare. It’s the local Indian reservation, and a lot of their streets have no signs, the houses have no numbers, and the majority of the roads are the width of a construction plank and haven’t been repaired since Custer’s Last Stand. Try maneuvering that catastrophe.

The deck is stacked against us to begin with, as a lot of orders aren’t ready on the busy days until twenty minutes to the hour mark. Some days I try to crank and make some money, which means you have to stomp on the gas and cut through the streets like butter, navigating the back roads and knowing where the traffic is going to be at one time of the day and most of all, not forgetting anything. There’s nothing worse than having to take a bottle of pop back to some bearded sasquatch who lives on the edge of civilization. And other days I tool along at my own pace, enjoy the view, and end up making some pretty good money anyway.

The view is gorgeous some times. I’ve seen women in bikinis soaping up their monster trucks on hot Saturday afternoons. I’ve seen car wrecks so preposterous that they look like a Dali painting. Once I saw a truck/horse trailer combo that ran straight into the side of a church. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful sunsets, sprawling countryside, and the vital signs of my community. Soccer games. Couples going for walks. Friends out on their porches sharing a cocktail. And the cursed, buggering bicyclists. Just once I’d like to watch one of those spandex shorted, penis helmet wearing fruits do a somersault off the grill of my Buick. The cyclists are a real nuisance on the back roads. They ride around on streets where they really shouldn’t be on their seven hundred dollar Italian twenty speeds and take up the entire street. That’s always something to look for ward to when I’m taking some bumpkin corner out in the middle of Timbuktu at seventy five miles an hour on two wheels.

In addition to this, the delivery driver has to deal with other people’s abhorrent driving habits. Either I smoke too many cigarettes and it’s affected my night vision so much that it appears as if everyone has their high beams on after dark, or the whole world has their high beams on after dark. About a year ago, car manufacturers changed the headlight glare to a blistering white arc. Add to this the fact that a third of the people on the roads drive sports utility vehicles and you get an oncoming rush of light that would shame the heads up display on the craft from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. After nine o’clock, I put the high beams on and keep them on. At least they slow down and curse at me while I’m driving by, too.

There’s a rainbow of road kill that you could never imagine unless you drive for a living. I feel bad for truck drivers because they must see a veritable abbattoir during their travels. Squished possum, ground up squirrel, pureed woodchuck, abstract cat, and half a deer. There’s too many deer in this town, and they keep trying to do something about it, but they won’t go away. Fortunately, I have a semi automatic rifle to rectify the problem. Any creature that stands or stumbles into the middle of the road and stares at an object ten times heavier than them traveling at an alarming rate of speed directly at them is too stupid to live anyway. Problem is, I’m like my mom. I’ll instinctually stomp on the breaks or swerve if I see some innocent woodland creature because I can’t have it on my conscious. It’s not something that can be deprogrammed because it’s intuitive. Which is fantastic because after dark in some areas of Clarence the roads turn into a dress rehearsal for Dr. frigging Doolittle. Getting to know the roads takes perseverance and finesse. It’s very frustrating to jump through all these hoops to get a rotten tip.

The people in Akron are cheaper than my big brother. Actually, my big brother lives in Akron. I used to tip poorly when the pizza guy came to my door. I would round up and tip a buck. If I had to deliver to myself on a Friday, I’d kick my ass now. Like my co-worker Matt (Mazia’s resident veteran employee) says, “We don’t get anything near fifteen percent.” Some of the guys I’ve known employ some passive aggressive tactics, backing out in people’s lawns, running over water sprinklers that are built into the ground, and flat out telling people to their face what cheap pricks they are.

Thankfully, Mazias builds a trip charge into every order, so at the very least, you make half of that. I don’t really take it out on the customer, but I remember the names and I don’t go out of my way to get their order to them first thing either. One fellow told me that, upon receiving a gratuity of about eighty cents, he counted out the change from his pocket, gave it back, and said, “You need it more than I do, buddy.” That’s gotta hurt. Stingy McScrooge knows when he’s screwing you out of a tip, too. These people send their eight year old kids to the door. Then you know you’re getting nothing. The next time someone sends their child to meet me on the steps, I’m taking the kid with me and we’ll negotiate an appropriate tip later. When people pay by check, I know I’m shit out of luck. And when you walk up the steps of some dilapidated shack that looks like Navin Johnson’s homestead, don’t expect much.

It all evens out, though. Some people take care of you, and those are the people we’ll blow through traffic signs for and mow down a school of ducks crossing the street to get to. Plus the hot chicks. There are a few places in Spaulding Lake (one of the well to do sections of town) that the guys jump on to take. And generally, the more drunk or stoned the customer is, the better the tip.

Ninety five percent of the people I work with smoke pot daily. It’s the nature of the business, I guess. I smoked my own weight worth in my teens, so I’ve had my fill and a few beers do the job these days. One of the managers (I won’t say which), who looks like the straightest of the bunch told me that he won’t get out of bed in the morning unless he’s firing up a fat bowl. I figured going into the position that a few coworkers might partake of some cannabis from time to time (for medicinal reasons, of course), but almost everyone there smokes their gills out. Two of the drivers I work with do it on the job, too, which I think is funny. Back when I was a hippie, some ten years ago, all I wanted to do after a joint was listen to a John Lennon album and take a nap. To this day, whenever I listen to Plastic Ono Band I get sleepy. But I can’t imagine these kids toking out and then kicking in the afterburners getting an order out. Each to their own.

The individuals that make up the staff are varied but strange in a way I haven’t seen grouped so heavily before in a job setting. I’m used to being the token weird guy at any company I work for, and at Mazias, everybody’s weird. Rob (one of the owners) is the level headed marketing genius. He’s the p.r. man who puts signed celebrity photos up on the walls, goes to the charity functions and the town circle jerks, and he started the company web site. Tony, the other owner, is the work mule who started the business. He’s constantly making the pies, scrubbing the dishes, and doing whatever it takes to expedite orders and keep the place running like a well oiled machine.

Jason (one of the managers) is the psychotic figurehead who goes off on the gold brickers. Every job needs a ball busting tyrant to keep things in line, so I don’t dislike him for filling a needed archetype. Plus I stay out of his way and do my job. My little brother (who coincidentally got fired by Jason) is disgusted with my corporate mentality. I empathize for the bad guy whenever we watch movies and my reasoning always falls under “he’s just doing his job.” Darth Vader built a space station to blow up planets? He was just doing his job. Bugsy Siegel beats a man to death in order to reduce loss prevention? He was just doing his job. Jason is very good at what he does, and, well, he’s just doing his job.

Bryan is the wild card of the managing clique. You can tell the managers at Mazias from their blue t shirts. The grunts wear white shirts. Bryan makes unsettlingly astute homosexual jokes about him and myself while I’m there. He pinches my nipples with tongs and slaps my ass on occasion. It’s a bit scary at times, but I make my share of lewd, off color remarks, too. Big surprise, right?

Aaron (one of the cooks) is a gambling maniac. Aside from betting the ponies, he manages to place bets on games taking place on the television out in the dining room, bets on every sporting event (legal and illegal) from here to Zimbabwe, and takes a turn at many a game of chance.

On Monday nights a group of us set up a black jack table after work. A lot of the guys are real high stakes rollers. Hell, on Mondays, there’s constant gambling. Monday is Gamblers Anonymous night. Craps, black jack, twosies, roulette, cockfighting; it all takes place in the back. We keep the roosters in the freezer on the other nights of the week. These guys are maniacs, betting entire paychecks, their girlfriends, and staking human organs in order to stay in the game. I get ribbed on because I only play two dollars and walk away after that’s gone. When Aaron plays he gets a wet sheen of excited sweat on his forehead and displays symptoms that would make one think he was hopped up on a pound of cocaine. It’s a pure gambling rush. He rocks to and fro, darts his eyes wildly from person to person, and rubs his nose waiting for the next hit on the rotation. They’re very good, and that’s why I never play for more than two bucks.

The other Erin is the resident belladonna, and she knows it. She’s a striking blonde with deep blue eyes and a body that could stop the planetary alignment if she wished it. Obviously she was one of the first girls I offended there when I began my employment. After two shifts, she told me that she hoped “I got some incurable disease and died”. It took a week or two to get over that. But now we’re pals. I continue to make lewd and inappropriate remarks and she volleys them back without missing a beat. Working with a platoon of young men has made her very sharp insult and catcall-wise. It’s made all the girls sharp, for that matter. Stacy (one of the sub makers) goes on ass slapping sprees. Ass slapping seems to be a recurring theme in this piece, doesn’t it? The sexual harassment board would call in a SWAT team if they ever spent a day back in the kitchen. If they spent an hour in the back, they’d deploy tear gas.

Matt, one of the other drivers, is my pal. He’s been working at Mazias for so long that he could be their company mascot. He’s tall, a bit full figured, and he always has a beatific, yet dopey grin on his face. We work together on Mondays, and I really look forward to them. He’s a bright guy who goes to school and hasn’t really wished for much more out of a job (until he graduates) than the flexibility, the easy money, and the complacency that the job offers.

A lot of the employees are in content little ruts. I don’t plan on staying there for too long, but it’s a fun ride while it lasts. The money practically falls into your lap, you drive most of the time, and everyone gets along with everyone else. One person is in a psychotically bad mood for each shift, but that’s life. Plus the food is fantastic. After a hard day at my other job, I can come over to Mazias and within one or two hours, I’m in a great mood again. I love the job, and it’s been so long since I’ve worked somewhere where I was actually proactively nostalgic about leaving. There will always be a cubby hole in my heart (as well as the rest of the Waters’ boys) reserved for Mazias Pizzeria. Along with a ten speed bicycle bell somewhere under my wheel well.

Got game?

Tom ‘calzone for brains’ Waters


Monday Big Words Update! Week 46 on stands, ‘Best Laid Nervous Breakdowns’ Up on Acid Logic!

October 9, 2007

This Monday brings the conclusion to the two part epic ‘War & Pizza’ (from First Person, Last Straw) in this week’s issue of Night Life.  Scoop it up on stands while it’s out.  And since we’re in the beginning stretch of a new month, there’s a new edition of Acid Logic up online with ‘Best Laid Nervous Breakdowns’ (from Crass Menagerie), my ode to the insanity (for men) of wedding planning.  You can check that out by clicking over to:

 That’s all I’ve got for you this week, folks.  Enjoy and I’ll talk to you all next Monday!


Monday Big Words Update: Week 41 on stands, Perpetual Money 2 right here!

September 4, 2007

With Labor Day today, I’m not sure if Night Life hits stands today or tomorrow, but September marks the final installment of ‘Perpetual Money’, ‘Perpetual Money 3: Wingman Of The Year’ (from the upcoming collection, Crass Menagerie.  I won’t be able to update next week (or the week after) as I’ll be out of town, but I’ll drop a line on the last Monday of this month.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the full version of ‘Perpetual Money 2: The Accidental Gigolo’.  Enjoy!

Tom Waters



Perpetual Money II: The Accidental Gigolo

gigolo / jig-e-lo/ n, pl -los 1. : a man living on the earnings of a woman.

2. a professional dancing partner or male escort.

I’ve been clubbing for two and a half years now and I just can’t bring myself to stop. It’s flaky. I’m above it all. Why in the hell would I want to consort with the scum of the earth and the most vacuous of the airheads? Because a bar is one of the few places where, better or worse, you can walk in and leave the world behind you. You can be as sociable or as reclusive as you wish. There’s no other public environment like it (save the hand puppet brothel I went to in Ottawa five months ago). I broke my teeth in the lounge latitude and learned a few rules of dating. And now I’ve achieved tenure. I’m a fogey by techno standards. But old dogs learn new tricks and sometimes they keep their wits about them.

Once I was a fool, I was petrified…okay, I’m not going to start that old tune. But once I was a young protege, learning by riding the coat-tails of others. In the span of two years, I’ve gained my p.h.d in booty calls, last calls, and beer balls. After you’ve mastered the first ten rules, you’ll still need guidance in the ways of club dating. And if that’s what the good lord put me here for, then damnit, I’ll help you progress further. Here’s the next ten commandments for chasing shots and chasing women. Learn them, live by them, and follow them to the letter! And don’t say I never gave you anything, you ingrates!Rule #11: Adhere To The Rule of Three Bars, Plus One or Thirty
It’s all well and fine and grand and good to have your one favorite bar. Just don’t staple your ass to the stool and petrify yourself there, is all. The discerning club person should go to at least three businesses a night, starting at around nine o’clock. You can mix and match the order in which you attend, but this is the order that works for me:

1. The old stand-by-A place you’ve been to millions of times where you’re juiced in with the bartender and you can get cheap pitchers and reasonable shots. The night will last a lot longer if you don’t piss away a twenty spot on your first two bottles of ale. Trust me.

2. The new place that everybody’s talking about-Clubs are very fickle. Sometimes the place that has go go cages, laser light shows and the heppest dj in town on Friday has tumbleweeds on Saturday. So check the place out for the first time after you’ve got your gameface on, and if it’s cool, you can convert it to bar one. If there’s some balding hairy man polishing the glasses and talking to himself behind the bar when you come in, at least you can say you went to your stand-by and the night wasn’t a total waste.

3. The come-down-This is generally some armpit of a dive of a gin mill. Either that or a strip club. The place to hit at the end of the night when you’re fighting back dealing with the fact that you have to go to work in the morning and you want to hang onto the night for just a little bit longer. Where you can dump a handful of quarters onto the bar and pay for your last drink of the night. Or, in the case of the strip club, where you can max the last ten dollars of your credit card on an ice water plus tip and sort of come to your senses. In either case, a good way to reflect on the events of the evening and put them into some sort of cohesive order.

Rule #12: Never, I Repeat NEVER Buy A Drink For A Girl You’re Not With
If you don’t know her, don’t bother. Talk to her by all means and make sure she doesn’t have an adam’s apple the size of a baseball. Make up a great opening statement. But don’t waste your time and money on some stranger. Some women go throughout their lives without buying a drink. This is wrong. They go out and grift every hard-working, well-intentioned, over-sexed schmuck at every bar in town into bankrolling their propensity for fruity, mouth-wash flavored concoctions. Best case scenario? You get lucky, but if the girl likes you it would’ve happened anyway. Worst case scenario? It accelerates the entire dating process and if you haven’t had a chance to properly represent yourself, they’re gone like a cool breeze. Once I bought a vodka and cranberry for a beautiful Russian college student, took it as a green light, and sat down with her and the rest of the firing squad. After three minutes, she coquettishly whispered “we’ll be right back.” The ten girls proceeded to the polar opposite of the dance floor and never returned. Harsh. Don’t let it happen.

Rule #14: Look Bored No Matter Where You Are
It makes you look experienced and it gives the impression that you lead an adventurous lifestyle. If Roman candles are shooting out of a nineteen year old’s ass in the seat next to you, look the other way and yawn. When Marti-Gras breaks out at the neighborhood watering hole and there are twenty five foot people on stilts wearing masks along with midgets and college chicks dropping trou’ left and right, slowly leaf through your fashion magazine. If Elvis appears and gives a spot-on performance with a talking dog and he proceeds to buy drinks for the whole bar, get up and wander to the bathroom looking slightly pissed and grouchy. And so forth. Perfect a lackluster, world-weary, jesus-there’s- got-to-be-some-place-better-than-this-one look. It’s just plain cool. Let nothing take you by surprise.

Rule #15: Wallpaper Your Heart With Rejections
Much like the publishing adage, it helps to get set up and shot down. You need to develop a reptile-like thick skin. Fly solo; make a kamikaze run into a fleet of beach blonde heartbreakers knowing that there’s an 80% chance that you’ll get your ass handed to you. You have to be scaly in a cosmos of lounge lizards. The more women who laugh in your face, stomp you in the grapes, and toss shots of 151 into your retinas, the better. Practice makes perfect, and with each prospect you can refine your mojo.

Rule #16: Find A Hot Spot For Every Day Of The Week
The place that’s a virtual Valhalla on Friday could be drowning in sad sacks and maniacs. Stake a few places out every night of the week (and for those with no dedication to the power of perseverance, it doesn’t have to be all in the same week) , and find the secret bungalows of boogie down. Ferret out the speakeasys, the hidden gold mines, and homes away from home. Then, after you’ve found their magic night, go back on that night, frequently. Get to be friends with the staff. Tip very well. The industry standard is two dollars on the first drink and one dollar each additional order. If you do that, the bartenders will treat you like somebody important and you’ll get free shit down the road. And we all like free shit. Anybody can find a cool place to go to on a saturday but only the singles maestro can offer up the knack for divining a great place on a wednsday at four p.m. (or four a.m., for that matter).

Rule 17: Be At Home Wherever You Are
Looking great, feeling great, and projecting an air of charm and self-comfort are all great means for snaring the heart of some blonde bombshell. If you’re at home where you are, then you won’t be as anxious or fretful and blow the fantastic vibe that you’re putting out. What the hell! Lay down and take a nap in one of the booths at a club. I’ve done it before with my shirt untucked and my gut hanging out (unfortunately, pictures were taken and distributed throughout Western New York). Take your socks off where you’re sitting and inspect your feet for corns! Walk into the back kitchen and pull a pickle out of the jar and eat it with the refrigerator door open. Take a newspaper into the bathroom. If you’re relaxed, that’s half the battle. Pop a Xanax if you feel the need. Breathing exercises help, or the company of friends. And wearing the pair of jeans that frame your ass perfectly while retaining their comfort and fashion level don’t hurt either.

Rule 18: Talk To A Girl As If It’s A Given That You Want To Go Spelunking In Her Pants
Be honest. You’re not there for manicure advice. You don’t want to discuss the latest relationship feature in the current issue of “Cosmo” and you’re not comparing baking recipes. You’re out at the bar, you’ve approached the girl in question, and you’re sole intention is: getting some. So don’t even discuss it. She knows it, you know it, the whole damn bar knows it. That’s why everybody else is there, too (except for the degenerate in the corner drooling over his QuickDraw ticket and muttering obscenities to himself). Go beyond it. And go straight for the kill. The phone number, the prolonged groping next to the car at the end of the night, or, if you’re lucky, the hot tub at home with the room mate who just happens to be a repressed sexual therapist. Hell, I can dream.

Rule 19: It Never Hurts To Have A Prop
They make great ice-breakers and they arouse curiosity, suspicion, and interest in outside parties. It doesn’t have to be over the top, either. A copy of Esquire, perhaps. If they see something in there that they like they’ll peer over and start talking. If you’re in a pub, take a little chess set. Geeky, but what the hell, maybe you think Daria is hot (if you could splice Daria’s, Janene Garafolo’s, and Bjork’s genes, you’d have the perfect woman as far as I see it). A Gameboy. A pool cue. Old prosthetic limbs. Improvise. Nobody likes to be alone at a bar so we’re all dying for human contact, just to talk to somebody else, ANYBODY else, so we look for a reason to approach a total stranger. Meet them halfway and set your pet porpoise on the stool next to you and make him perform parlor tricks.

Rule 20: Embrace Chaos; You’ve Got Better Odds
I know this armpit of a shit-hole of a bowery bar in Buffalo that all the guys go to. It’s always packed….with a plethora of testicles. Why bother? They’ve got two girls in the whole joint and one of them is there with her obnoxious salesman boyfriend who is going bald at the speed of sound and is obviously ten years older than her. And the other one you wouldn’t want to touch without a protective bubble because she’s had every guy in the bar other than you and looks it. They say you can tell how many guys a girl has been with from the rings around her neck. But I digress. Go to the zoos, the raves, and the techno blowouts hosted by Dj PopinFresh 2000. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, put up with it for a night and see how much better you do as far as picking somebody up. Who would you rather go to work on, the one girl at the pathetic bowery bar or try a few pickup lines on any one of the three hundred girls in chaps and jeans that would require a spot welder to remove line dancing at the honky tonk palladium? Play the percentages, boyo!

I’ll give you one more to grow on because I know you’re trying your best out there and war is hell, so use it wisely!

Rule 21: Eavesdrop, Then Butt In
This doesn’t work in big clubs but if a place is relatively quiet, listen in to your neighbors on the rail. They’re talking in public, it’s no crime if your ear happens to pick up the conversation about how the co-worker broke up with her boyfriend of five years because he cheated on her with the fry girl from Wendy’s and she’s out pounding the pavement for intimate revenge! Listen in, horn in. Interject. Throw in your two cents and see how quickly they open up for a second or third opinion. And then you’re on the ground running. Plus it’s a good way to deduce what their status is. Single, married, divorced, or part of a small Middle Eastern harem.

Well, that’s about it. It took me twenty four solid months of harrowing and selfless research to offer up this cavalcade of advice for you, so use it! Just don’t mack on somebody I’m working over if you see me out, buddy, or I may have to break a tablet or two over your peroxide frosted, over-moussed fat head! Feed a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man how to purchase prophylactics and he’ll fish forevermore. It’s tough out there, but you can be the ringmaster of your own destiny if you play your cards right. Have fun and don’t forget your jimmy cap. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that after you work up the nerve to approach someone, it’s all down hill. And if you can pull it off once, you can do it a million times. Some of us don’t find our mates in college, or at work, or in massage parlors. And we have a lot more fun doing it. And if you crash in burn? At least you copped a buzz, saw your favorite bartender, and you were and the company of friends.

By Tom “the warts have gone away, can I buy you a drink?” Waters


Monday Big Words Update! Week 39 on stands, ‘Perpetual Money’ right here!

August 21, 2007

A new Night Life is upon us today with a Big Words installment of ‘Perpetual Money 2: The Accidental Gigolo’ pt. 1 (from First Person, Last Straw).  Now that I’ve put a few of the smaller pieces into the print column, I thought it might be nice to split up some of the larger essays and see how readers reacted.  And since the first rant has come and gone, I figured I’d reprint ‘Perpetual Money’ (I) here for your enjoyment.   So go grab a Night Life! 

Perpetual Money (pt. I)

Money \’mun-e\ n, pl 1. : something (as metal currency)
accepted as a medium of exchange 2. :wealth reckoned
in monetary terms 3. :the art of being insatiable without

Believe it or not, up until a month ago, I had never trolled the collective chum nets of the evening singles scene. Not once had I sat on a barstool during last call as the sun peeked up from the horizon and prospective special friends, peg-legged and otherwise, suddenly looked more interesting to each other while some wretched Bob Seger song played on a beer-stained jukebox. For two years, I was alone, by choice most of the time, and was certain I knew desperation. A month ago, I received a formal instruction in despair by every lay person (now that pun wasn’t my fault, dammit!) in the field. This probably doesn’t sound that alarming, unless you take into account that I’m a stout lad of 24. This is my journey from daylight into darkness back into daylight and then to, oh screw it, here’s what happened.My prior dating philosophy consisted of waiting for nubile young coquettes raining from the sky to fall into my peripheral field of vision and, by nature of proximity, in desperate and sweet, sweet love with your’s truly. Not the most effective method. Less effective is a better description. Dead right worthless is perfect. Now certain boys and certain men have the innate gift of picking up anyone, anytime, anywhere, be it a supermodel at a yard sale or the much sought after girl-next-door in the grains and nuts section of your local convenience store. It goes without saying that I am not this certain type of boy and/or man. It goes without saying that most men aren’t, and most men wish that this sort of person would perish viciously in a freak soda machine explosion. Some people play it wholesome, and try their damnedest (bless their hearts!) to find love and its common denominators in haunts without alcohol, such as a library, a church service, or the occasional cross stitching club for straight men in their early twenties. However, I hate libraries, and most of the women who frequent bookstores are, at the risk of sounding uppity, a bit on the homely side. Secondly, being that I pay worship to the pagan deity of retail every Sunday, I don’t have the opportunity to get in on any pious action that may go on thereabouts. And lastly, my stubby, hairy fingers just aren’t conducive to any macramé related activities. Conventional means of dating just weren’t going to work, so it was clearly time for last-ditch efforts. This is the point where I was dragged, kicking, screaming (and generally biting anyone that got within a mile radius), out of my happy pocket of seclusion and into the dismal and poor lighting of the lounge lizard stratosphere. I am neither an extroverted nor zany person in the presence of strangers, so the club life was always an option and a lifestyle that was looked down upon. How foolish it is to despise something one knows nothing about when you can research and divulge each revolting tentacle for it’s singular foulness (in addition to the overlying revulsion). Like this Greek dude who descended into the Underworld to bring his true love back from the dead, I wandered down into the very gutters of the velvet rope and escaped with something far more valuable: validated parking.

Being that I have led, for the most part, a sheltered and suburban life, city and inner city conduct was never my field of expertise. This isn’t a very good thing, either, as most panhandlers and run of the mill raving lunatics tend to prey on, and gravitate towards, people without this field of expertise. I’m not sure if it’s because I have a face that’s misleadingly kind looking, gullible, or naive, but the homeless home right in on me. Within five feet of leaving my car, some poor, ruddy vagrant will pop out of nowhere and begin with a cockamamie tale of woe so far-fetched that I can’t help but reward his flair for creativity with the 38 and a half cents that the story was contrived for: “Yo, man, my grandma got crushed in the steam press at the laundromat and I ain’t got no case quarter to take a rickshaw to go see her at the hospital in Baltimore. You got a case quarter? You gotta cigarette? Wanna buy twenty kilos of heroin?” No thank you. I suppose this sort of obstacle comes with the territory.

Awful techno music is another necessary evil of clubbing that has to be tolerated, as there is no alternative. On one evening, I heard the original version, house-trance remix, and 12″ extended vinyl of a song that I think was called “Smack My Bitch Up” at every club we frequented. That’s part of the charm of going out and dating, though; you go somewhere where you don’t want to be so you can pretend that you’re having fun and not looking to meet anyone in a place that’s too loud, disgusting, and crowded to talk to someone even if you did make an acquaintance! A daisy chain of inevitable logic!

And then there were the Gothic, or ‘Goth’ people. They make up the ruling majority of the actual dancing type clubs. Goth people practice a system of ethics and beliefs that would make the Mormon code look cohesive. They dress in black to convey their spiritual numbness and/or angst at their parents. Ditto for nose, nipple, eyebrow, and prostate piercing. Some of them either pretend, or legitimately believe that they’re vampires. I wasn’t aware that vampires were typically five foot men with skin problems and lipstick, or three hundred pound girls with pewter crosses and hairy arms, but…fair enough. The musical collective prefers rancid techno with men screaming through speaker distortion about serial killing and other such nastiness that makes them, by virtue of listening, feel nasty. I don’t plan on turning into a Goth person any time soon. It sounds too exhausting. Plus even I can’t pretend to be that angry all the time.

Every club, lounge, and dive had it’s own charm, or prepackaged lack thereof. In club-speak, ambience is a term that’s synonymous with ‘shit-hole that a lot of interesting people for some unexplained reason keep going to’. At one of the darker clubs, the toilet was little more than an open hole in the ground sheathed in darkness, where one stood in a voluntarily unidentified puddle (I wasn’t about to investigate) and tried to aim for the desired target. The place had great ambience though, because a lot of lesbians danced and groped each other there, which, admittedly, does not bode successful odds for the single male, but is entertaining regardless. Plus it made up for the outlandish cover charge.

Every woman at every bar had a special tantalizing feature that stuck to the roof of my mind like so much mnemonic peanut butter, whether it was an interesting back pack with copulating children’s show mascots, a nose ring bigger than any you’d ever see this side of a toreador, or in some cases just an ass that left my eyes out of their sockets and my tongue along the rail of the bar. It’s a fascinating atmosphere,with it’s own ethics and a corresponding band of acolytes who go faithfully into the night, without fail, until they find that fake someone who hits home with the little fake person inside of them.

Certain days had themes attached to them in the club utopia. At one bar, on Tuesday nights, only Englebert Humperdink cover bands graced the small plywood handicapped ramp that doubled as a stage. Some bars designated Sunday as Sexually Conflicted Day, where closet gays, asexuals, and the occasional Eunuch were allowed to get out, get down, and get dirty with each other, no one, or their catheter, respectively. And I’m certain it’s widely known that Thursday is the day when people the world over place sponge candy in their underclothes and somersault the length of the bar onto a pool table full of Vienna sausages, but I was never privy to these things before. Just like I was never privy to dancing.

(Audible and extended sigh of disgust) I will never dance, even for the sake of finding action. No Bump and Grind, Slam Dance, Macarena, or other pasta-related dervish. There are some men who dance, and enjoy dancing, and these men are known to be gay. I myself am not gay. If I were gay, maybe I’d enjoy dancing, but gayness simply isn’t in my genetic encoding. It’s sort of tragic how women love to dance, are always looking for guys who want to dance with them, and have no alternative other than gay men. Sometimes drunken men dance, or desperate men, and you can still see how uncomfortable they are with their sense of coordination, self-consciousness, and overall burgeoning embarrassment regarding the fact that they’re dancing badly. If I could make it to the bathroom without tripping over a level surface, or get on and off of a barstool without catching my jacket on a nail on a post that’s three feet behind me and ripping the lining out onto the floor much to the amusement of my friends and any other strangers who aren’t blind to wild, stunted spectacles, perhaps I would venture it, but I can’t, so I don’t. I did the twist once at the age of 13, when I didn’t know any better, and the original videocassette, as well as any copies, were destroyed tragically in a freak gyro copter crash some years ago. One of the other things I learned was not to trust a straight man who dances well, as he is a professional, and therefore he is trouble.

There are lifer’s on every notch of the gender rainbow in clubs, and you can spot them by following these guidelines: If you meet someone who’s hair is glazed, greased, or so perfect that they look like they should be endorsing a product while they’re talking to you, that’s a good sign. If a woman is playing tiddly winks with a handful of diaphragms and an empty margarita glass, this is also a good sign. Persons who don’t have a general air of shame and self-disappointment are almost always cold-blooded, no-nonsense, hit-and-run swingers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it depends on your designated prey. Do you want a disease or a drink? A one night stand, four month relationship, or an interlude in the alleyway next to Bob the Hobo? It’s an unforgiving meat market, and there are many different cuts of beef hanging from hooks in sub zero temperatures wearing nylons and pumps. You just have to know how to grade your beef. Fortunately, I lean towards the Upton Sinclair school of evaluation, as opposed to the Tijuana State Board of Excellence in Iguana Remainders.

That’s not fair, though. One thing that I learned among many is that in life, there are diamonds in the dust, and the club scene is no different. The other things? Perhaps a roster is in order. Thomas’ Rules Of Lounge Order, as it were. Relegated by the order in which they were discovered. Take note, and if it sounds silly, or outlandish, remember the source, and bear in mind that much pain and hardship was incurred for the sake of this invaluable scoopage I am imparting to you for the low introductory price of, well, free.

Rule#1: Bring A Decoy
This works on multiple levels. Not only do you not feel pitiful and shunned by the opposite sex, but you’re gaining valuable information from the enemy lines while in their midst like Diane Fossey taking rectal temperatures from the inhabitants of the chimpanzee house of a city zoo. This is a crucial, crucial rule. Aside from learning how to speak with the fairer sex without stuttering, mumbling, blushing, and spilling food and assorted drink on, you appear wanted in front of actual targets. Women at heart are lovely and sweet and all of those things, but women, when dealing with other women in the realm of dating, are vicious vindictive psychotics who would put John Wayne Gacy to shame. If they see that you’re with someone who’s having fun with you, their natural instinct is to go and ruin whatever jubilation said girl is having. The decoy actually gets something out of it too, as men are testosterone fueled atom bombs who will stop at nothing, including hitting on someone else’s ‘girlfriend’ to strike it rich. But this is, of course, an irrelevant and unimportant side effect that makes you look more sensitive than you, in reality, actually are. This rule is a keeper.

Rule#2: Nothing Ever Happens On A Monday
This was obtained the hard way, and anyone with a brain in their head would have figured it out without unnecessary shadenfraude. Since bar folk and their ilk are perpetually in motion, it’s patently obvious that after a wild Friday, a bombastic Saturday, and an Interesting Hat Sunday, Monday would be a good day for all around recovery and subsequent rehydration. One also has to factor in the possibility of the general after-parties that those in the know go to after their dive of choice shuts down at the legally enforced dawn hour(s).

Rule#3: Recognize A Good Thing When You Have It
When you’re clearly on the road to pleasant chemistry (not including a drink with a quirky umbrella that changes colors every five minutes), follow it up and ride it out. Please see the attached.

Rule#3a: Don’t Blow A Good Thing
With the exception of men whose first names are John and last names are Travolta, you are not the universal swinger. Trading up is frowned upon in the bar malaise, and should never be performed in the same night, at the same club. It’s conceptually impossible to make someone feel as if they’re the only person in the room and make lascivious gestures and eye winks to someone across the room at the same time. This is just plain rude, and I for one am disgusted at anyone who would do such a thing. Other than me, anyhow. Actually, I’m still riding a stationary shame cycle from my incident

Rule#4: The Harder You Try To Score, The More Bleak Your Odds Become
In a space age futuristic world full of more aphrodisiacs than people who have a use for them, it is my firm belief that confidence is, and always will be, the greatest hook with women. Desperately grappling for intimacy after the witching hour with anyone who happens to stumble or get sick next to you is not an example of confidence, but rather a dead end exercise in futility. This operates under the same universal principles as Rule 3 and its footnote: If things are going well, put some effort into the catch. If nothing’s happening by 4 a.m., odds are nothing’s gonna happen. Best to cut your losses, fold, and drive home with some dignity rather than a second cousin to Ilsaa the Bearded. Unless, of course, you’re into that sort of thing.

Rule#5: Travel In Packs, Preferably of Well-Wishers and Hangers-On
It’s murder out there, and one needs as many tricks as are humanly possible to gain the hometown advantage. In place, or addition to a reliable decoy an entourage adds to your personal star status and proves that you’re admired and adored by many. What we’re trying to avoid here is going somewhere completely by yourself and going out on a limb for someone only to get shot down horrifically by not only the intended princess but her two slightly heavy and overly giggly friends as well. Women always travel in packs, and so should you. One more time: Women always travel in packs. You see them marching like a battalion in malls, on the streets, and even to the bathroom in groups of 20, so bring some reinforcements. If you’re lucky, your friends will recognize when you’re interested in someone and help to build you up as the wonderful mystery that you most certainly aren’t.

Rule #6 Perfect a Look
As in comedy, and also with dating, one must have a schtick. You can’t open with something that’s outlandishly out on a limb and expect consistent results, so it’s best to flagellate with a routine that works. This sounds cliche’, but it doesn’t have to be, and when in Rome, be the fake toga wearing bastard that you can’t stand. Or in this case, the Plebeian who says he ‘enjoys Dave Matthews for his political impact on the 21st century, as well as his ingenious world beat innovation’. The horror of it all. I feel dirty just writing that. Before I lose track, make sure to have a look. Lounge chicks usually go for a certain type, so it’s best not to confuse. There are many options and looks to choose from, up to and including four! You can be the leather clad bad boy who’s an embarrassment to the girl’s parents, whom she’s trying to punish for spoiling her all of her life. Or perhaps you’re more the sensitive Charlie Brown-pullover wearing new age man with a buzz cut and penny loafers of indeterminate color? This works on gold diggers. But then of course you can be the strikingly individualistic beret/beanie/handlebar mustache sporting, tortured misunderstood artist for whom life is painful and creation is bliss (translation: college chicks). If these sound like too much of a stretch, you can just be an asshole with a sizable wad of cash, which is not too shockingly the house special of the day any day at any bar in any town.

Rule #7 People Who Slur Are Not Anywhere Near as Charming as They Perceive Themselves to Be
Circling back to the confidence game of all confidence games, if you want someone to feel uniquely desired after, the last thing to do is funnel a few liters of absinthe and deliver your soliloquy from the heap of cigarette butts and ground cheese doodles at the floor of the bar. Women like to feel needed, not lusted after by virtue of their biological bits and pieces. It’s best in dating to stay on top of your game, which basically means that you shouldn’t phonetically skip every other vowel in a given sentence while forming a basin of drool out of one side of your mouth. People who are drunk to the point of unconsciousness are more liable to get a ride home in a white van with big blue lights and a stomach pump rather than in the Lamborghini of some blonde viking. Utter inebriation is an agenda in bars, but shouldn’t be mixed with dating, ever. Aside from a complete lack of charm, drunken people have a tendency to pretend that it’s their conscience that has taken a vacation when in fact and in most cases, it’s simply their sense of balance and/or bowel control.

Rule #8 If You Don’t Have an Ugly Friend With You, You’re The Ugly Friend
Fetching females collect them like so many beat-up plastic barrettes under a vanity chest, and will look at you and your surrounding friends in the same manner. If the majority of your friends look suave and dapper, it’s best to hang out with them on off nights and make an acquaintance with someone who has a growth on their neck, supplemental nostril, or similar deformity that will draw more attention to your own beauty. Granted, inner beauty may be important, but who are we kidding? If women were drawn to boys with flippers, we’d be sanding off our forearms right now.

Rule #9 The Sensitive Male Schtick Stopped Working About Five Years Ago
Now that everyone has the hang of it, the knack to understanding ‘where she’s coming from’ and how you ‘know how tough it must be to find your individuality in a male dominated world’ in addition to the way you ‘have psychological water retention that makes you feel psychically bloated in a succinctly feminine manner’, nobody cares. As a man, pretending to be responsive to other’s needs is about as current as wearing platform shoes and a tie wider than Marlon Brando. It’s a fake out to our natural instinct, namely conquering and plundering. You know it, they know it, and there’s no use trying to dress up your approach by limpening your wrist and discussing the crying jags you had while watching a Sandra Bullock movie. Masculinity is in, thank God, because we’re not very good at anything else.

Rule #10 Lie About Your Job, Even If You Have A Good Job (And You Probably Don’t)
That’s right, I’m an analyst for one of the city’s largest subsidiary brokerages. I handle off-shore accounts when I’m not cramming for my LSAT’s. You may not believe this, but I’m an advisor for one of the lesser Popes, it’s not really a big thing. You get the picture. Just as decoys reinforce the fact that you can behave yourself in the presence of the opposite sex, a fake job can be save you from a raving psychopath, as well as reel in the abundantly plastic persons you may be in the mood for. Leprechauns are easier to spot than anything vaguely truthful in the small talk that sifts through the air in a crowded club, so why should you be any different? After all, perhaps you actually did have some government stealth jet experience in a former life and you’re simply getting in touch with that.

By Tom “Valentino to the Impaired” Waters


Monday Big Words Update! Week 37 on stands/back to back Perpetual Money(s)!

August 7, 2007

     Monday’s upon us again, which can only mean one thing: a new issue of Night Life magazine!  And with the block underway, I decided to reach way back into the archives for two old favorites for August: Perpetual Money (from Born Pissed) and Perpetual Money 2: The Accidental Gigolo (from First Person, Last Straw).  I split the twenty commandments to singles club dating into two parters, respectively, so they’ll be paced out throughout the next four weeks to round out the rest of the summer.  I’ve always felt that the original Perpetual Money was the closest thing to perfection that I’ve ever achieved in my writing career (in terms of style, length, and composition), so I thought I’d give the rest of Buffalo (and our friends in Canada) a chance to see for themselves.  So go grab a copy!

     It also came to my attention today that the new print issue of Metromania including ‘epitaph’, a poem I wrote for the upcoming Breathing Room project.  You can download a pdf version of the current issue at:

That’s all I’ve got for you this week.   In the mean time, I’ve been trying to beat this brutal humidity and weather out the rest of the summer.  Have a good one,

Tom Waters



Monday Big Words Update! Week 36 on stands, ‘epitaph’ accepted at Metromania magazine!

July 30, 2007

After realizing that there were five Mondays in July, I rushed ‘Flowers For Puck…Love, Algernon’, a categorical essay about reality shows from First Person, Last Straw that’s been picking up renewed interest lately.  Some time tomorrow, I’ll send out the next bach of rants for Night Life for the month of August.  Since my partially voluntary block is still in tow, I’m thinking of trolling through the ancient archives for some classics. 

In other news, ‘epitaph’ (one of the poems from Breathing Room) was recently accepted for the August issue of Metromania magazine.  It’ll be appearing in their new issue on or around August 15th, so click over there in a few weeks at:

It’s funny how I can go four to six months without writing so much as a limerick on a cocktail napkin and things keep getting accepted from blind submission rampages months prior.  That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so race out there and pick up the new issue of Night Life!


Another (grueling) Day in Paradise: WYRK with Clay & Dale & Dialog w/Scott Leffler Aftermath

April 17, 2007

After an entire half an hour of free time last night to eat and watch ‘Two And A Half Men’, I went to bed early so that I’d be chipper for my WYRK appearance in the morning.  The locomotives going through Lancaster had otherwise to say about it, as apparently their schedules changed last goddamned night and were running every five minutes throughout the night tooting their horns. 

I got up at six thirty in the morning so that I had time to make coffee, take coffee, drive downtown, get lost once and have two or three cigarettes before my first big break on the FM dial.  After finding the Lafeyette building in the heart of Buffalo, I hopped upstairs (still a bit groggy) and settled into WYRK’s green room area after meeting with the program director and going over the agenda for the appearance.  Then I met Dale Mussen (sp?) in the hallway and joked about qualifying for Dale’s time warp after I made a joke to a co-worker last week about the banana splits.  I gawked at all the platinum albums they had on the wall signed by the Dixie Chicks, Toby Keith and Dierks Bently like a starstruck fanboy while I waited to go on. 

They put me on at 8:10 (ahead of schedule) and we got down to it.  Clay and Dale were really, really nice guys and they made the appearance really comfortable while disarming any nervousness I may have had.  The show went smoothly and they gave away four copies of the new book to the first four callers on the line.  I gave Clay and Dale each a copy of the last two books for their personal reading enjoyment since I’m such a firm believer in the station and their show.   I can’t thank the folks at WYRK enough for allowing me the opportunity to come on and talk about the new book and to meet the two hosts from a morning show that I’ve been listening to for years.  In case you haven’t picked up a copy of the book yet, they’ll be giving away four more copies of If They Can’t Take A Joke tomorrow morning during their ‘Worst Joke Wednesdays’, so don’t you dare touch that dial!

After getting home around nine thirty, I had an hour and a half of down time for a quick power nap before I did a phone interview with 1340 AM for Scott Leffler’s ‘Dialog’ program.  Scott and I found a good groove together and ad libbed our interview for twenty minutes joking about my bar reviews, the book, the perils of engagement and other topics.  This was my second time on Scott’s show and I think we achieved a better sense of chemistry today than we had on my first show.  I’m never sure how to gauge people the first time I meet them which doesn’t necessarily make for great radio, so the second time was a charm.  Thanks for the solid plugs out in Lockport, Scott!

After that, I drove out to Talking Leaves and dropped off some copies of the book for them to sell in the store at their Main St. and Elmwood locations, so if you live downtown and you want to pick a copy up from a local business, there you have it.  I dropped my zoom lens off at a camera store downtown for service and then got home around two, completely shot and depleted from the days activities.  I collapsed and took a nap and woke up to find a message from 97 Rock regarding an appearance I’m working on setting up.  Cross your fingers for me and hopefully I’ll be going there next!

I’ve got one more appearance tomorrow night at the Lancaster Public Library at 7pm (they advertised that I’ll be promoting First Person, Last Straw for some reason, which is fine, I suppose) and then I’m done for a few days before my book signing at Talking Leaves Elmwood on Sunday.  I’m totally beat but with the book taking off as well as it has I’m considering setting up some dates and appearances in June.  Time will tell… 


FYE & Don’s Atomic Comics: Long Day, Big Success!

April 8, 2007

Today was grueling, but overwhelmingly positive!  I woke up at eight (because I’m neurotic like that when I have a big day ahead), left the house at ten thirty for the FYE Hamburg book promotion and got there a half hour early.  Store Manager Greg Baumgartner had a swank leather chair and a cherry spot right in the front of the store set up along with some great signage and posters for the book advertising the event.  I was a little frustrated to find out that there was an afternoon Sabres game (I don’t follow hockey unless I’m in a bar), but I brought my A game regardless and talked up last minute Easter shoppers regardless.  After settling in to my spot early and merchandising my books for maximum visibility, I talked up the random people who got sucked in by the book cover and started racking up some sales.  I met a nice woman with a family who lived in Toronto and wrote erotica.  She and her husband bought three copies of Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish.  I met another nice woman from Binghamton who bought a hardcover copy of If They Can’t Take A Joke for her husband, who loved humor collections.  I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in years who scooped up one of the remaining copies of First Person, Last Straw.  And there were others.  Four hours came and went and I racked up over a hundred dollars in commissions, which isn’t too shabby.  The afternoon was a total success, and for big box store promotions, I would rather meet total strangers and get to know them so that they can read the book and tell their friends in other towns and countries than run into existing fans.  I was really pleased.  I can’t thank Greg and the staff at FYE enough for their support and their genuine hard work that went into making the in store promotion such a huge success.  The store will be ordering additional copies of the book once it hits Ingram as well as Baker and Taylor, so I’m going to try and stop back for another event in either late May or June.

After going home and recharging the batteries by sacking out for a half and hour, Lindsay and I took cans back and I invested some of my royalties towards picking up beer for the Tom’s Atomic Kegger 2 promotion at Don’s Atomic Comics in Lancaster.  Three cases of beer and two eight packs of Guinness, to be precise.  It’s a tax deduction, so I didn’t sweat the expense.  I got a receipt and headed out to Don’s before seven pm.  Friends, fans, and thirsty patrons started shambling in after seven o’clock and began racking up the book sales.  Some of my fans picked up some comics at the store for the first time and a lot of Don’s fans plunked down their hard earned cash for various copies of the book.  We all had beer.  And more beer.  Don, Ian, Brad and I cracked jokes, played lude and lascivious music and talked a lot of smack among each other.  I got to meet John Kindelen (sp?), another contributor for the YourHub project.  I’ve read his work and I knew he was a big comic fan, so it was nice to know that he shopped at Don’s as well.  Don kept track of the book sales.  By the end of the night, I made over three hundred dollars in sales on the new book along with the previous two.  I turned around and dropped a hundred or more on a new Batman limited edition sculpture and some comics.  We closed shop a little before twelve and agreed that this was the best Don’s Atomic promotion we’ve ever had for one of my books.  Don, Ian, and the rest of the crew at Don’s Atomic are like family to me and this is why I try to run a promo at Don’s shop every time I’ve got a book out.  Thanks again, guys.  For all the ribbing we inflict, it means a lot to me.

I don’t know if it’s the book cover, the momentum or the all around effort, but the new book is really taking off.  I’ve honestly sold more books in a week than I did in a month with the last collection.  Maybe I’m just due.  Don tells me it’s my best book yet.  Whatever it is, it’s reassuring that I don’t have to worry as much about recouping costs and I can focus more on bringing new readers into the fold while keeping my original base of fans happy at the same time.  I may not enjoy actively promoting year round, but it’s a comfort to schedule the bulk of my events with longstanding contacts that I have an ongoing relationship with.  It makes things a lot easier and I know what I’m getting. 

If the coming weeks are as succesful as this one, then the next book will be paid for before I start hashing out the details.  It’s already written, but I don’t even want to think about it right now.   All I can think about is the vacation I’m taking in May, the month of sleep I’m going to desperately need after this is over with, and the mountain of comics that I’m looking forward to having the time to read.  In the mean time, Happy Easter to everyone who isn’t working in the morning.   Mainly, people who aren’t me. 


Clarence Center Coffee Co. This Thursday (tomorrow)/FYE Hamburg & Don’s Atomic Comics This Saturday!

April 4, 2007

Now that we’ve got the actual launch of If They Can’t Take A Joke out of the way, there’s the next six and a half weeks of promotions to contend with and look forward to.  If you live in Clarence, enjoy coffee, or just need a reason to go out this Thursday (tomorrow, April 5th), I’ll be doing a full reading at the Clarence Center Coffee Co.  in Clarence Center on the corner of Goodrich and Clarence Center Rd.  I’ll be there from 7pm until whenever reading some selections from the new book along with some other favorites as well as taking requests if anyone wants to hear something specific.  And of course, I’ll be selling copies of If They Can’t Take A Joke, Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish and the handful of copies I have left after Sunday of First Person, Last Straw.  If I don’t get a decent turnout at the Coffee Co. this time (this’ll be the third time I’ve done a book event there over the course of three books), I won’t be returning.  With marketing, they say ‘if it works, great, if not, don’t do it again’.  Well I’ll try something two or three times before I give up hope on the idea, so I’m hoping to see a crowd of some kind.  It’s a really nice place and I grew up in Clarence, so represent, Clarenconians!

Tonight (Wednesday), I’ll be heading up to see Michael Bly at his regular Wednesday appearance at The Hidden Shamrock around nine pm.  Now that I got the hardcover editions of the book in, I need to drop off his comp copy of the book for doing such a fantastic job performing on Sunday during the launch.  Plus I enjoy his music, so I’m spending one of my ‘off nights’ this month listening to his set.  If you’re free tonight, stop on up and show Mike how much we appreciated his endeavors on Sunday!  I only perform my nonsense six weeks out of the year, but performers like Michael Bly are like gypsies.  They’re out on the road 300+ nights a year busting their humps to make a living and pick up new fans and I respect that.  While I’m good at reading on stage, I don’t necessarily enjoy it all the time, so I only do it when there’s a book out.  Stop up to the Shamrock and say hello to Michael Bly tonight though if you’re free!

This Saturday is a double header for promotions for me, though, and I’ll be at FYE in Hamburg doing a book signing from noon to four pm and then we’re doing the big Tom’s Atomic Kegger 2 at Don’s Atomic Comics in Depew from seven pm to eleven pm.  The management at FYE assures me that store traffic the day before Easter is gigantic, so we’re hoping to take advantage of the extra influx of holiday shoppers to schlep some copies of the book.  I’ll have a table set up somewhere in the middle of the store, so you’re welcome to sit down with me and chat for a while.  Four hours is a long time to sit in any one place, so I can use all the company I can get as far as people I know while I’m getting assaulted by people I don’t.

As for Don’s Atomic Comics…if you went to the last kegger, you know to show up.  Once again, if you buy a copy of one of my books at the event (or bring one), you get to drink free beer all night…period.  That’s the only catch.  I’m getting my readers drunk!  Now how many other writers will pay for YOUR beer?  It’s usually the other way around where writers are concerned.  I get a tax deduction on it, so I’ll be happy to do it.  In addition to that, Don is offering 20% off on his entire inventory of comics, trade paperbacks, figures, sculptures, toys and collectibles, so if you’re a fan of comics and beer, you don’t want to miss this one.  The last one in November of ’05 was a riot and this one sounds like it’s going to be bigger and better than the first.   On a personal level, I’ve been buying my comics from Don’s (and ONLY from Don’s) for the last seven years, so it would mean a lot to me if you could make it out to support the event.  Don, Ian, Brad and the rest of the crew at Don’s Atomic are like family to me.  We argue constantly, make frequent gay jokes about each other’s personal orientation, and we’re always having lofty and geeky discussions about Don’s undying love for Alan Moore, my neverending love for all things Batman, and Ian’s penchant for large, hairy, burly men.  Just kidding, Ian.  So it’s a busy week. 

And before I forget, Wil (my editor at Acid Logic) assures me that the new issue is coming out ‘sometime this week’, so check back there as he’ll be running something new of mine.  The site address is:

That’s all I’ve got for today.  Tonight, Michael Bly at The Hidden Shamrock, 9pm-whenever.  Tomorrow, Clarence Center Coffee. 7pm.  Saturday, FYE Hamburg noon-4pm.  Saturday night Don’s Atomic Comics (Tom’s Atomic Kegger 2!) 7pm-11pm.  I’ll seeya at one, two, all or none of them!   Thanks,

Tom Waters  


Monday Big Words Update! Week 20 on Stands/Desiderio’s Launch/Engagement Party a Smashing Success!

April 2, 2007

 Holey moley, was last night fun!

Thank you SO MUCH to everybody who came out to attend the official April Fool’s launch for ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ along with my surprise proposal/engagement to longtime live-in girlfriend Lindsay.  It’s Lindsay’s birthday on April 3rd, I’d been planning the entire debacle for six months along with everyone in her family (who was in on it and kind enough to keep it a secret) and it came off swimmingly.  After opening the evening at Desi’s with ‘8 Simple Rules For Doing Something With Your Life’ (the unemployment rant) and then following with ‘Speak Now Or When You Get Around To It’ (an essay from the new book about the pros and cons of marriage, fittingly), I brought Lindsay up on stage and popped the question.  Then we left the stage and Michael Bly (who had been practicing the song for weeks at my request) played a moving rendition of ‘I Can’t Keep This From You’, our Elton John song from Peachtree Road (a song we listened to when we started dating). 

The next hour and a half was a blur as people congratulated the both of us and then everyone descended on the book table to purchase their own signed copies of If They Can’t Take A Joke, Clean Up After Me I’m Irish, and my remaining copies of First Person, Last Straw.   A great many people bought me a congratulatory shot of Tullamore Dew whiskey (my favorite at Desiderio’s), and after Michael Bly’s fantastic set, Lana and Hund took the stage.  They rocked the place out in their award winning style and wrapped up the whole soiree around ten thirty.  Bly along with Lana and Hund raked in some pretty good money donation wise from the concert goers, so I thank you for that, too.  Lindsay and I finally relaxed after the show wound down and then my friend Becky asked if I’d read again, so beer in hand, I went back up and read some material that wasn’t necessarily suitable for all ages: ‘Babes On A Plane’ (from next year’s Slapstick & Superego) and ‘Bad Coverage’ (a cell phone rant I wrote for ’09’s Crass Menagerie). 

We wound down at the bar and had some pints of Guiness with Jay Desiderio, Matt, Doug, Allie and the rest of the staff at Desi’s while we packed our stuff up, put the chairs up and closed the doors on the best book launch I’ve ever had.  Once we got home, Lindsay started flipping out (in a good way) and we watched the new episode of Reno 911, ate some leftover chicken wings from the buffet (thanks, new mom in law!) and turned in for the night.

I don’t know if I can top the launch with the rest of the promotions, but I’m certainly going to be a lot happier going forward.  Next stop is on Thursday at the Clarence Center Coffee Co. at 7pm on the corner of Goodrich and Clarence Center Rd.  I’ll be doing an hour long reading (providing that there’s a sizable crowd) followed by a book signing and a few of their delicious cafe mochas. 

And there’s a new Big Words print column in Night Life today.  In honor of yesterday’s events, I submitted ‘Speak Now Or When You Get Around To It’ for those who were unable to make the launch and the proposal.  Now that the secret is out (and it was most certainly NOT an April Fool’s joke), I can breath a sigh of relief and get on with the show.  Many thanks also to Trina (a fan of the print column who I met last week who showed for the launch) and Chuck Sankey (a fellow YourHub humor columnist who’s pretty funny in his own right who showed up at the launch and bought some books). 

Big thanks go out to Michael Bly and Lana and Hund for volunteering to play at the launch.  They’re music was a perfect complement to the event, I think they made a lot of new fans, and Lindsay and I will remember April 1st, 2007 for the rest of our lives.  Thanks also go out to Jay and Bobby Desiderio and the entire staff of Desiderio’s for being like a third family to us in the last six months.  The restaurant has become like a home to us, and we rarely if ever miss a Tuesday for karoake, irish whiskey and great company.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  And thanks also to all of you who showed up last night.  You’ve ALL got an invite to the wedding!  I promise that I won’t be shilling a book during that occassion.  The only reason I timed the proposal yesterday was because the book launch was a perfect reason for both sides of Lindsay’s family to show up without her getting suspicious.  That, and I was a nervous wreck all day yesterday and she just chalked it up to pre-show jitters.  What a great year it’s been and we’re only into the fourth month!

I’ll be posting pictures from yesterday’s bash on my YourHub site, so click over there if you want to relive the magic…

Try and make it out to Clarence on Thursday, grab the new print edition of Night Life and I’ll update soon,

Tom Waters     


Buffalo Small Press Book Fair Aftermath/D Day for ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ Launch at Desiderio’s!

April 1, 2007

April Fool’s Day is finally upon us!

After six solid months of planning, scheduling, networking, schmoozing, freelancing and old fashioned writing, it’s time to kick things into high gear and do what I was born to do (but don’t enjoy all the time): PROMOTE!  Today is the official launch date for my fourth humor collection, If They Can’t Take A Joke: Confrontational Humor For The Casual Bibliophile.   Being neurotic beyond words, I got up at seven this morning because my subconscious knows that this is a big day and I’ve got plenty of worrying to do before the big show tonight at Desiderio’s on Broadway and Bowen at 7 pm. 

I’m thinking about writing a travelog regarding the promotions this month because a)I’m really starting to enjoy writing travelogues and b)this will give people an idea of how insane, exhausting and erratic promotional junkets are.  The next month and a half is going to be physically and mentally draining on me, and odds are that I won’t be writing much when I come out of it for awhile, but those are just the negatives. 

There are a lot of positives to focus on for this book and the next six weeks.  I’m going to sell a boat load of books and there are a lot of great appearances with longstanding contacts that I’m really looking forward to (Don’s Atomic Comics, FYE, Clarence Center Coffee Co., Talking Leaves, etc.).  I’ve been dealing with some of these people since Soup To Nuts: A Decade Of Satire by Thomas Waters (my first self published book in 2001, for those of you who don’t know) and I only get to see some of my contacts and professional friends unless I’m promoting a book.  So it’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve been out on the circuit in clubs, bars, coffee houses and book stores to do the meet and greet, the hard sales pitch and the shaking hands and kissing babies thing.  Luckily, I’ve still got some gas in the tank after yesterday’s seven hour plugathon at the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair.   

One of the other positives is that I actually have books on hand to sell this month, and hopefully plenty of them.  I’m not getting the hardcovers until Wednesday or Thursday, but I should have them in time for the FYE appearance next Saturday in Hamburg (12-4) and the Don’s Atomic Comics appearance next Saturday in Depew (Tom’s Atomic Kegger 2! from 7pm-11pm).  That, and I’ve broken a lot of new ground in terms of new places, bigger promotions and radio appearances. 

Hopefully when the dust has settled I can hammer out some television spots, but I literally won’t have the time to even think about it until May.  There should be enough momentum from the launch this month that we’ll grab somebody’s attention on one of the big three networks locally or perhaps even nationally.  We’ll see what happens. 

The Small Press Book Fair yesterday was a phenomenal success and I got to see a lot of old friends in The Biz as well as meet new people while shilling copies of my book at the same time.  Buffalo State College’s Rooftop Poetry Club was kind enough to share their promotional table with me and I got to meet Lisa Forrest (one of the librarians at Buffalo State as well as one of the founders of the Rooftop Poetry Club and an ardent project coordinator for many of their multimedia spectaculars including their current Slide project, which coordinates spoken word with visual art) along with Sarah Reis (sp?), who we decided will be be splitting the bill with me when I appear on campus at the Butler Library Room 310 at 4 pm on April 25th.  This will be the first time I’ve been on campus in almost three years, so I’m looking forward to ‘heading back to my roots’ and ‘rediscovering where I came from’ and all that jazz.  Where the hell was I?  All this plugging is exhausting!  Oh yeah, the Book Fair…moving on…

ArtVoice’s Managing Editor Geoff Kelly was there and I haven’t seen him in eons, so we traded some anecdotes, I snapped some shots for the YourHub site, and I got him a comp copy of the new book for review purposes.  I spoke briefly with Michael Kelleher, the Literary Director for Just Buffalo Literary Center and we spoke about how the anthology is coming along.  He told me that the word of mouth on the floor throughout the day regarding the anthology was like wild fire, which was a positive.  I told him that Alycia and I were considering extending the submission period and he understood.  We’ll see if submissions spike in the next couple of months, though. 

I also said a quick hello to Jonathan from Talking Leaves, Christy (a very old friend from WAY back in the day), one of the new owners or proprietors of Rust Belt Books, and exchanged pleasantries and insults with Livio Farrello, part of the unholy triumverate that forms Slipstream, one of the longest running literary journals in Buffalo.  Bob Borgatti (one of the other founders and co-editors of the journal) is a much nicer person, or at least less abrasive (but who am I to accuse anyone of being abrasive?).  It was very nice to see him again.  I’ve got an interview with Bob in the new book that was originally intended for ArtVoice that they never ran for some reason, so Buffalo readers will be seeing it first in If They Can’t Take A Joke.

I also got to meet Charles Forness and Susan Marie, two of the writers whose work was accepted for the Just Buffalo anthology that Alycia Ripley and I are working on.  They were very nice and we schmoozed for a bit and they are planning on coming out to see me and Carrie Spadter read at the Caz Coffee Cafe on Monday the somethingth this month.  I don’t even remember, but the listing will be in the paper.  I got to meet Amy Greenan, an avid Zinester who bought my book a year ago (First Person, Last Straw) and said she really enjoyed it.  

I got along famously with James Ostrowski (sp?), a lawyer who wrote a fascinating book about everything that’s wrong with Buffalo politics.  He had a lot of interesting things to say and by the end of the day, we were hamming it up and promoting each other’s books shamelessly to fairgoers who approached our table.  James also has a podcast, so he and I talked about getting together at some point down the road.  Once I unpack all my materials from yesterday, I’ll give you the full spelling of his name along with the title of his book, which I purchased.   And I met Una Crow (is that your real name?), a tiny girl who was tremendously friendly who sold me a zine called Monstress, which was filled with prose, art and poetry.  Amy and Una helped me plug the book and lent me some of their sharpies and glitter pens to write some cheesy tag lines on some cardboard displays to get my books moving. 

I went three hours without selling anything and then BOOM, everyone was hitting me up at once.  There was a solid hour of sales, meeting and greeting, and then the rest of the day was spent gathering email addresses for the newsletter, shaking hands, telling fifteen thousand different people what the book was about over and over again, and generally hamming it up with James.   I got there at eleven in the morning, the fair started at noon, and I left at six o’clock, spent, tired and ready for a nap that I didn’t get.   After entering all the new information into the batcave, Lindsay and I popped up to Desiderio’s to finalize plans, have a few drinks and to catch the Michael Bly Band play the day before our launch together.  It was a fruitful day and it’s probably going to be very typical of the promotional days that I have set up throughout the next month.  For all the pictures, click on over to the YourHub site (the link is at the bottom along the BlogRoll).   Many thanks again to Lisa Forrest, James Ostrowski, Amy Greenan, Una Crow and the organizers of the first Buffalo Small Press Book Fair for such a phenomenal event.  I made some great money yesterday along with a lot of other local artists and made some solid contacts. 

So now it’s time for the real show.  At the time of this writing, I’ve got less than eleven hours before it’s curtain’s up and the book is released into the wild.  This baby’s got some legs, so it should be a long and bountiful junket.  I’ll see you all at 7 PM sharp tonight at Desiderio’s on Broadway along with Michael Bly and Lana and Hund.  Get there early as parking is limited and you don’t want to miss one second of this star studded spectacular!  Bring your book buying shoes!         


Over 3,000 Served/Small Press Book Fair This Saturday!

March 30, 2007

I scrolled back to try and find when we hit the 2,000 hit mark, but to no avail.  Regardless, the Big Words Site just reached 3,000 unique hits today in what seems like only three weeks!  Not too shabby!  The hits keep climbing every day and something tells me we’ll be talking 4,000 soon enough as the frequency and volume of visitors to the site is steadily climbing.  Thanks to Word Press, I can track search terms, daily traffic, monthly stats and trends as well as visitor clicks to and from the site and which blogs are getting the most play for my buck.  This has all been much more informative than my first site on Blogger, and readers seem to like WordPress’s interface much better.  It’s just more user friendly.  Well thanks for visiting, you wacky, net savvy humor lovers!  I appreciate your patronage from the bottom of my heart.  Now buy the new goddamned book, ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’!

Oh, and lest I forget, before the big Desiderio’s book launch this Sunday with musical guests Michael Bly and Lana and Hund on, April 1st (at 7 pm located on the corner of Broadway and Bowen in Lancaster), I will be selling and promoting the book a day early this Saturday along with some of my new pals from Buffalo State’s Rooftop Poetry Club at the Small Press Book Fair from 12-6 downtown at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum on Porter Ave.  I’m not sure where the actual address is, so map quest it (like I will be) and visit if you’re downtown this weekend.  I’ll also be selling my remaining copies of ‘First Person, Last Straw’ for a cool fifteen bucks along with copies of ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish’ for a cooler ten bucks.  Stop out, get your book signed, and then I’ll see you all on Sunday! 


Monday Update: Week 11 On Stands, Possible Trafford Switch at the 11th Hour

January 29, 2007

     First, down to Night Life Magazine business.  The new issue’s out today with a scathing, scathing (did I mention that the article was scathing?) commentary on Buffalo roads and how horrendous they are (‘Morning Traffic Retort’)  in this week’s Big Words I Know By Heart print column.  I’m making this February my official ‘Driving Sucks’ month and rounding out the rest of the month in Night Life with a classic, fan favorite that’s been split up into two parts (‘Cool Hand Highway Superintendant’) and I may or may not throw a Valentine’s piece or another driving piece in for the fourth week.  People who have read my work for some time know that I always shine when it comes to writing about driving, dentists and smoking.  They are three themes that I always seem to circle back to because they constantly aggravate me.  And if you missed ‘Bizarro Acrophobia’ last week, you’re just going to have to wait until next year to read it in ‘Slapstick & Superego’, as I won’t be reprinting it here.  I only reprint the Big Word columns that I wrote specifically for the print column with a local flavor, so sorry for that. 

     One of the submitters to the Just Buffalo anthology that Alycia Ripley and myself are compiling let me know that the Buffalo News ran our call for submissions in the Sunday paper in the Arts section, so that’s getting us some great exposure for the project.  If you haven’t read the call for submissions and you’d like to submit, just scroll down until you find the ‘Call For Submissions’ entry.  This project is starting to gain a lot of momentum and the submission period only runs for another five months, so get cracking if you want to make the cut!

     And as far as ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ goes, I may be switching publishers.  Trafford has made my life a living hell for the past week and they’re telling me that they may or may not have the book out on time.  This is a serious problem that rests squarely on their shoulders, as one of the primary conditions of my signing with them was that they have the book ready for sale by April 1st.  Now they are going back on the agreement and telling me that they’re not sure if they can do it, so I’ve enlisted some legal counsel as well as the advice of Author House, a publisher I dealt with for ‘First Person, Last Straw’ who got the job done in a timely and cost-effective manner with exceptional customer service.  I don’t know why the hell I didn’t go with them for this book and I’m really regretting it at this point.  If Trafford is smart, they’ll throw in the towel and let me have me way.  Otherwise, this could get real ugly real quick.  Authorhouse was kind enough to offer me the same deal thirty days faster for a lot less money.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed because the first leg of the book launch is already scheduled and there are more artists and individuals attached to the project than just me.  If Trafford lets me down on this, they’re letting a lot of people down, and the royalties and venues missed if the book isn’t out will be tacked on to my suit.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll do the right thing…

     As for ‘Breathing Room’ (the two volume poetry collection I’m writing), my editor Carrie Spadter got the manuscript back to me thus far and not only did she really like it, she read it about a dozen times!  I have no reference point for whether or not my prose sucks, but she’s the best poet I know, so her opinion is highly valued.  It doesn’t look as if I’ll have the rhyming collection done in time for the launch of ‘If They Can’t Take a Joke’, but stranger things have happened in less time.  If it’s not ready, I’m looking at releasing four books this time next year: ‘Slapstick & Superego’ (rants and essays only), the Just Buffalo Anthology, ‘Breathing Room: Main Room-free verse’ (self explanatory) and ‘Breathing Room: Attic-rhymes & relics).  That’s a whole lot of books, but they’re diverse, so I believe that there’s a market out there for all of them.  Whatever happens in the next two months, I’m done with Trafford.  I’ll be taking at least one book to Authorhouse, self publishing the slimmer rhyming poetry collection, and we’ll see what we’re doing with the Just Buffalo anthology depending on the funding issue.  Alycia is trying to drum up some contributions from area individuals and charities, but that’s never been my realm of expertise.  More on everything as it develops…


Week 3 on stands in Night Life, Week 2 Pharoah’s Review, a go!

November 28, 2006

    Don’t forget!  If you’re near a radio on Wednesday morning, make sure to tune in to 1340 AM at 11 AM (or thereabouts) as I’ll be on the air for ‘Dialog with Scott Leffler’, a one hour radio interview/call in show to plug the column as well as the upcoming book along with my other books.  Feel free to call in and mess with the show!  I encourage it! 
     Speaking of that, the new issue of Night Life is on stands today with a scathing, scorching diatribe on how parents need to beat their kids if they misbehave in public.  It’s week 3 of my ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ column and next month I’ll be replying to reader comments and questions on the last week of the month, so read up, digest, and for the LOVE OF GOD email me at ‘’.  To date I’ve gotten 0 emails in that box (unless you count penis enlargement ads) and I know it takes a while to build up a column following, but what the f?  Show me some love, folks!
     And it sounds like the blog is a go.  They are launching in February but starting up well before hand, so I’ll keep you posted.  I’ve been asked to keep quiet about it on the radio show, so keep that on the Q-T.  Instead of moving my official site again, I’m thinking I’m going to do a sister site that’s PG-13 Rated entitled ‘Buy My Books!’.  It’s sort of an in joke for the email newsletter masses.  You can subscribe for free by emailing me (once again) at ‘’.  Drop your pen?  Here it is again:  Oh, and if you want to see your name in print on the last week of December in the illustrious pages of Night Life magazine, buffalo’s premier weekly paper about booze, porn, and tom waters’ fascination with both, you can feel free to shoot me an email at:


Did you get that?  Since last week’s column was a reprint of ‘A Dying Breed’ from ‘First Person, Last Straw’, I won’t be posting it here.  I will, however, repost the Pharoah’s review from last week’s issue.
Enjoy and I’ll talk to some of you on air this Wednesday, Tom Waters

Drink Like An Egyptian: Pharoah’s Gentleman’s Club

By the time you read this, adult star Brittany Andrews will be gone from Pharoah’s. Originally, I was going to interview her, but I got such a runaround from her agent that I decided the project was far too high maintenance to waste my time with. I’ve had my share of primadonnas for one lifetime, and actresses like Brittany are a dime a dozen. Instead, my buddies and I went on a regular night out to Pharoah’s. And by regular, I mean extraordinary.

Having left Otto’s completely demolished with a small army of drunken, sex crazed deviants in tow, we make a mass exodus to Pharoah’s on a Wednesday. What is it with me and Wednesdays? We’re a baker’s dozen of plastered men and women who roll in with me for the occasion of Intentionally Bald Mike’s 27th birthday. We pop in, hit the bar, and line up for our first round of drink orders. The place is mobbed for any week day, and ten minutes go by at the bar with cash in hand waiting to get our first round. In my younger days, I would have blown up, walked out or complained in a dramatic fashion. Now that I’m older, I realize that they have important regulars to take care of, and it is really, really busy.

Rhonda, one of the two gorgeous bartenders working the line, pops up with her rackstastic self and fills my needs. She’s got some sort of strappy affair over her chest that pulls my line of sight in like a vacuum while we tally up our orders. Blue Light and a double of Maker’s Mark for me, Cosmo for Lindsay, Blue Light for IBM, and many, many assorted drinks for Joey Martin, Tony ‘The Daiq’, Heather, Little Chris, Stephanie, Colleen, Johanna, and Beth. I feel like the last three minutes of Romper Room calling out all these names.

Jenna, a voluptuous blonde, is working the main stage to ‘Sweet Leaf’. The crop of dancers is phenomenal this year, and it’s only Pharoah’s 2nd year in business. A leggy brunette with shoulder length curly hair and white hose seesaws on stage to hip hop. She’s got a button nose and keeps working the stage while we take a higher vantage point at one of the smaller stages to the right. A blonde in red satin works a pole at our table and I feel bad because I’m liquid rich and paper poor. My buddy IBM is called to the stage (after Tony ‘the Daiq’ sets it up) for his birthday and two leggy brunettes sit him in a chair and go to work on him to 50 Cent’s ‘It’s Your Birthday’ or whatever it’s called. He gets the full lap dance treatment, the DJ gives Night Life their due props over the mic, and everybody but me hit’s the rail to catch the action up close and personal.

After they break him in, the girls lay IBM out on the stage bent over and start flaying him 27 times in the ass with a bullwhip for every year on this planet. Cheyanne throttles him like a pack mule. Instead of crying uncle, he takes it like a man and limps gingerly back to his seat afterwards. IBM is gonna have a whole new fetish going into his 27th year. Joey Martins, Tony ‘the Daiq’ and myself go up to the bar and grab a round of shots. Yaegermeister for them and Maker’s Mark for me. We grab a smoke and go for another round of shots. A slim blonde twirls on the gold pole with high silver heels and everyone is pleased. Another blonde with a French maid outfit and a brunette with a leopard bra (Angela and Kiara) share the stage. IBM hits the rail like a lost puppy. Everyone is wondering where Joey Martins and Tony ‘the Daiq’ are and it’s decided that they’re getting extensive lap dances in the lounge towards the back. They come out and a lap dance is purchased for IBM, who remains in back for two full songs and comes out looking pretty fulfilled on all counts. If you’ve never been, Pharoah’s has their bathrooms and their ATM machine located ten feet from the lap dance rooms, which is both evil and a brilliant execution of design flow at the same time. Two more rounds of shots are done with the ladies, the gents, and Rhonda, and my notes begin to degenerate into scrambling chicken scratch not unlike the note pad of a stroke patient. Midnight comes and goes, and we all have to get up so very, very early. On the way home, IBM, Lindsay and I pop in to Mighty Taco and I manage to shovel an entire Mighty Pack down my drunken bottomless hole of a drunken mouth.

Pharoah’s opened with a strong pedigree and delivered with top notch talent. The massive influx of patrons is a testament to what they do right in adult entertainment. To pack a parking lot with well behaved porn freaks on a Wednesday is no small feat and from what manager Bob Warner tells me, it’s a common occurrence. They pack them in and keep the boys in line with astoundingly hot house dancers, reasonably priced drink specials and a full slate of headliners. I am impressed. King Tutankhamen is only spinning in his grave because he wants a lap dance. Badly. We had a mythic time at Pharoah’s. I look forward to coming back after Brittany Andrews gets the hell out of town.

Twenty lashes and eleven to grow on,

Tom ‘strapless’ Waters


Big Break(s)! Buffalo News My View Today, tomorrow, and then the world!!

November 25, 2006

If you got today’s edition of The Buffalo News, my essay ‘Zip Sliding Away’ made it in as a 650 word edit in the My View Section on page A-12 under the title ‘A Wandering Mind Is Tough To Lasso’.  This in itself is unremarkable, but what I’m really grateful for is the fact that this is the FIRST time that the Buffalo News has included a plug for my last book, ‘First Person, Last Straw’!  This is a milestone for me, and on top of that, someone from contacted me today about doing a regular blog for them as a founding member on their site!  As long as I can maintain artistic integrity, I’m all in.  This would be a massive, massive coup for my career, so keep your fingers crossed for me and I’ll keep you posted on the fine details!  Yay! If you didn’t get the paper and you want to view it online, click on the link below:

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