Archive for the ‘if they can’t take a joke’ Category

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The Ballad Of Gregg Sansone (Uncut)

March 28, 2016

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Author’s Note: This interview has been on a wild ride in the last ten years.  A shorter edit originally appeared in Buffalo Spree magazine, the longer format ran on Acid Logic and the version you’re about to read finally found its way into my fourth book If They Can’t Take A Joke (Authorhouse, 2007).  Gregg’s been a dear friend of mine for more than 15 years and with his 55th birthday approaching, I thought I’d revisit this interview.  

If you’ve participated in (or just enjoyed) the Buffalo music scene for the last six years, Gregg Sansone is a pervasive, melodic, keyboard-driven entity. The two-time Buffalo Music Award Winning Solo Artist Of The Year plays out at clubs, bars and other venues over 300 nights a year (when he’s in peak physical condition), and his cover shows run the gamut of Steve Winwood to Elton John to Stevie Wonder. Dabbling in rock, jazz, blues and classical standards, Sansone has become a local icon and a national underground phenomenon. I saw Gregg play (or channel, to be more accurate) Elton John covers at Route 66 in downtown Buffalo four years ago, and I’ve been a Sansonite ever since. His two and three hour shows are lousy with fans, electric in their intensity and craftsmanship, and brilliant to witness. I had the opportunity to sit down with Greg at my apartment in Lancaster while he was recovering from major back surgery (he had a disc removed).

TW: You haven’t had a drink since you were 15. Why is that, and do you find it surreal to play out at clubs and bars for the majority of the year in the company of people who are soused out of their minds?

GS: No. Alcoholism runs in my family. I’ve got a huge family. Eight boys and one girl. Some people put down meat and become vegetarians. I had the hindsight as a fifteen year old to say ‘You know, I’m addictive as hell. I have a real addictive personality. I’m just not going to do this. Otherwise, I think it could be a problem, and it just stuck through college and everything else. Like anything, I stuck with it and it developed and it’s been years and years. I have a blast (at the shows). People come up to me and say ‘Man, you were hammered because you were dancing on the bars!’ and I say, ‘No, but awesome, thanks man.’

TW: How does your strongly held belief in Buddhism inform your singing and songwriting?

GS: Songwriting and instrumental writing are different. They’re along a spiritual line, but my performances are an extension of what I believe in anyway about myself. Buddhism isn’t a religion as much as it is a philosophy. They didn’t invent being honest and they didn’t invent being good people, they just do it well. So you can apply it to any faith that you have and for me, it just helps me to not want to kill everybody. Or when someone is drunk and they fall into my keyboards and everything, now I don’t want to drag them into the parking lot. Before (Buddhism) I did.

TW: Do you think the era of disposable pop/porn performers like Britney Spears and Ricky Martin is nearing its end, or is it more of a popular music cycle?

GS: I think human nature is human nature, and within music, I’m no expert on anything. I’m just an Italian from Buffalo. Before them when Madonna got really popular, they produced people like Jody Watley, and-

TW: Rick Astley.

GS: People like that, that’s exactly right, but specifically female singers to sound like her (Madonna). Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, so it does go in cycles. I think the American people, we’re a disposable society. There’s a huge portion of the population that buys into that, and they just go into whatever’s popular. But there’s this undercurrent of people like us that-

TW: Observe?

GS: Observe and evaluate and say, ‘This is good, this doesn’t work for me, that’s kinda bullshit. I know that you love Elton John for instance, as do I. People like Elton John, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and even Madonna, and I’m not a Madonna fan, but she’s stood the test of time. They’re not a flash in the pan, and for good reason. If we didn’t have those people, it would be a sad, sad world with the boy bands, although Justin Timberlake has broken from that and has really made a name for himself. I mean, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

TW: And Mark Wahlberg-

GS: Mark Wahlberg is kinda cool in the movies, though! When he was Marky Mark it was a different story.

TW: Your best one night stand story after a show:

GS: Um, my best one night stand story after a show-because I have one night stand stories during a show.

TW: That sounds like the better story.

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Normal Consciousness Will Be Resumed: Lucifer Creator Mike Carey In His Own Words

January 21, 2016

lucifer

Author’s Note: Everything old is new again.  With ‘Lucifer’ hitting the small screen next week on Fox, I felt it was appropriate to dust off my print interview with creator Mike Carey from my 2007 book If They Can’t Take A Joke (Authorhouse).  Nine years later, Lucifer remains my favorite comic series of all time.  Fox better not fuck it up.  -Tom 

For the uninitiated, comic writer Mike Carey is the second coming as far as Neil Gaiman’s fantasy masterpiece Sandman is concerned. After the Sandman library ended its epic run, he resurrected Samael, also known as the Morning Star, better known as Lucifer. The Eisner Award-Winning Vertigo title has gone on to a great deal of financial and critical success and, never one to rest on his laurels, Carey has kept busy writing a number of inspired story arcs for John Constantine: Hellblazer, Batman, and the one shot hardcover The Furies.

Lucifer: The Wolf Beneath The Tree (DC/Vertigo) explores the series roots while rushing towards its sad but inevitable conclusion. Writer/Creator Mike Carey and artists Peter Gross, Ryan Kelly, P. Craig Russell and Ted Naifeh delve into a fable behind the construction of the kingdom of heaven and what happened to Lilith after her exile from the garden of Eden. Furthermore, the volume follows Lucifer’s continuing struggle to escape the grip and shadow cast by his father and his battle for universal autonomy.
For the uninitiated, the series is a high watermark for quality in adult graphic fantasy, chronicling the Morning Star’s resignation from the duties of Hell and subsequent dealings on the earth and beyond. Over the course of the series, Lucifer has double crossed God, created a world in his own image, battled the heavenly host on his own terms and tangled with more than his share of adversaries while somehow managing to come away stronger with a clever remark in tow. The dialogue is incomparable for the medium, and the series is a lightning rod for some of the most talented artists in the business. In terms of fantasy, there are no substitutes for Lucifer.
I had the opportunity to speak with Mr.Carey on an overseas call from his London home regarding his writing, his love for comics, and his obsession with myths, fables and fairy tales.

TW: Have you put a great deal of research into the occult and demonology in order to write Lucifer, or is it part of a life long fascination with myths and fables in general?

MC: It’s more the second than the first. It’s a lifelong fascination. I do specific research for specific storylines, but I was a lit major at university (Oxford) and I did Latin and Greek at school, so I’ve always been sort of interested in myth. I’ve always been saturated with the myths of certainly Mediterranean cultures. As I’ve sort of gone through my first degree and my higher degree I continue to sort of revisit the themes I was fascinated by.
To some extent, it comes from my weird background. I was born in Liverpool, and my dad was Catholic and my mom was Anglican and this is in one of the most sectarian cities on the British main lands. Mainly second and third generation Irish immigrants. So religion was a big part of my childhood and yet I was slightly detached from it because I came from this family where there was a kind of religious truce going on. And this was a city that was experiencing a religious Cold War. It was a part of my upbringing without my ever being a believer.

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On Dasher, On Dancer, On Prozac (Updated)

December 14, 2015

 

prozac light pic

Author’s Note: This little ditty is from my 2008 book If They Can’t Take A Joke (Authorhouse).  I think about this one every time the holidays come around and it deserved some rewrites and revisions.  This is good practice as Travesty approaches the finish line, because I’d like to rework every essay in the manuscript one final time before its release in the Fall of 2016. 

Happy Holidays!

Whelp, I’ve survived the holiday gauntlet. From Thanksgiving until January 1st, there is no reprieve. No sanctuary, no shelter, no quarter from family, family meals, stress, anxiety, depression, aggravation, noise pollution, and hustle and bustle on a scale of mental exhaustion. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Why not celebrate the holidays by running your immune system into the ground, gaining weight, drinking like a fish, and maxing out your credit cards? Holidays are hell on adults, always have been, always will be.

I didn’t really notice it until this year, but more people collectively lose their shit this time of year than any other. I don’t know how I kept mine together aside from the fact that everyone lost their mind around me while I watched. I’m reminded of the relationship between Hunter Thompson and his trusty sidekick in the film/book Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas; one of the two always kept their wits about them while the other loses them. They took turns. I made it straightaway up until three or four days before New Year’s before commencing into total collapse.

My grandfather died five days before Christmas, a fact which never escapes anyone in my family. It’s been six years, but deaths in the family are like cattle brands. Nobody mentioned it this year, but I’m sure we all thought about it. Looming like the ghost of Christmas past, memories of my grandpa and his subsequent passing left an indelible mark on our holidays forever. It seems as if the good ones always go around the really important occasions. That, or there are too many holidays to count, and it just appears that way. Maybe that’s the end result of old age and the stress of the season. I felt my age this year, and perhaps the burden of Christmas shopping and card sending and table settings will put me six feet under when I get older, too.

I’m so sick of shopping and hunting and gathering that I’m considering moving to another country next year between the months of November and March. Maybe I’ll move to Iceland, where they still believe in faeries, Bjork’s music career, and where they have a holiday that celebrates and encourages adultery (I’m not making this up). I’m not a big fan of standing in line on Black Fridays. Leave that to the fucking soccer moms. I don’t chase down bargains or make the six a.m. toy runs the stores like to torture us with. It’s complete madness. Nothing will get me out of bed before eight o’clock (unless, of course, I’m still awake from the night before). By December, people get a glazed, psychotic look in their eyes standing in the checkout lanes. Desperation, exhaustion, and materialism bear down on their tiny brains. Stupid people are much more likely to lose their minds around the holidays because they have less of it to go around. You see them screaming at cashiers, elbowing their way through toys, and clothes-lining Christmas carolers.

One expends a lot of energy participating in family meals, get-togethers and holiday jaunts. Entire days off are chewed up driving to a destination, sitting and talking with loved ones, having a meal, exchanging gifts, toasting champagne, and so on. This leaves you with the feeling that not only don’t you have any free time, but there’s a microverse of frenetic activity that’s taken its place. While I prefer to nap frequently and laze about on days off running the occasional errand, these become a thing of the past in the winter months.

Nothing makes you feel more alone than holidays, especially New Year’s Eve. We’d all like to picture ourselves kissing our intended at the stroke of midnight rather than basking in our own solitude. This is one of the many factors that pushes people right over the edge into insanity. Seasonal violence has a cause and effect. It’s modus operandi is the surmounting pressure that drives people to drink and play bumper sleigh ride with their new luxury sedan, strip the Christmas lights off the tree and hop off of a chair, or gobble up that bottle of sleeping pills like a tender morsel of Christmas ham.

Let’s not forget the big two stressors, either: finances and weight. The average American gains twenty pounds between November and January. So many holiday snacks within reach; fruitcake, turkey, Christmas cookies, egg nog, and scotch. One month on the lips, a new year’s resolution on the hips. Most people worry year round about their budgets, and racking up gifts on multiple credit cards doesn’t help. It’s a holiday recipe for a breakdown.

It’s a good thing the holiday triathlon only comes once a year. It’s probably not any one factor that freaks people out so much as the sum of all of them. That, and the end of another year and the realization that we didn’t do nearly as much as we wanted to in the months preceding it. Expectations for the coming calendar combined with disappointment over the previous one. The thought that we’re getting older at the speed of light, and that another year has gotten away from us. Should old acquaintance be forgot….just give me one solid day off. And let me hide out from family, friends, and shopping centers.

Checking the expiration date on my NA eggnog,

Tom ‘yuletide’ Waters

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Striking Gold At The WNY Book & Arts Center

December 7, 2014

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

Sharing the Buffalove (ugh…),

Tom Waters

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Book Reading & Signing Announced for December @WNY Book & Arts Center

October 6, 2014

Morning!

I’ve scheduled and secured one more signing for the end of the year. Here are the pertinent details:

Book Reading & Signing w/local humor author Tom Waters
Location:
WNY Book & Arts Center
468 Washington St.
Buffalo, NY

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

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

Date & Time:
Saturday, December 6th
2 p.m.-4p.m.

(716) 348-1430

FB Event Page for WNY Books & Arts Center Reading & Signing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can assure you that between this event and Hot Mama’s Canteen these are the only book promotions I’ll be doing for the remainder of the year. If you’ve been to one of my readings before, you know how much fun they can be. If you haven’t, now would be a good time to find out. Both events are very important to me. Bear in mind that local musicians play out six and seven nights a week and most people wouldn’t think twice about heading out to see them perform. As a local author (at best) I host only a handful of events a year. Support your local artists! As always, I give discounts on anyone buying multiple books or multiple copies. Someone will probably be filming the event for future inclusion on one of my show sites. Again, please mark your calendar, book a sitter and make this date. With any luck, I will still have copies available for the limited edition print run of Icarus On The Mend: Memoirs Of A Manic Depressive.

Hope to see you there!
Tom

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Icarus Manuscript Fetches A King’s Ransom, Big Words Radio Wins An Award & Doubt It Publishing Looks For A New Author On The Roster

September 29, 2011

With such a large scale project accompanied by an enormous timeline, I thought it would be a natural idea to auction off the original manuscript (along with a copy of the hardcover when it’s released).  I started writing Icarus On The Mend last October (in 2010), spent the last two months proof-reading, spell checking and generally filling any gaps in the continuity and continue to put the finishing touches on the second read-through.  The auction started on FB this week and I’m astonished to see that the only copy that anyone can read for the next year is up to $225!  We’ll find out how much it fetches by close of business tomorrow.

A year from now, Icarus On The Mend will launch on my birthday (October 25th, 2012) in a limited, numbered hardcover edition comprised of 50 copies in an 8.25×10.75 format.  Due to the sheer size of the book (430 pages and counting in 6×9), I had to go bigger in order to make the book cost effective.  I’ve been working closely with a new artist on the cover concept and he’s researching mythology and moths for an acrylic painting due by August 1st.  Returning Doubt It graphic designer Brian Platter (Six Shot Studios) will be designing all three volumes of the book over the course of the next year from the interior to the wraparound cover layout.  Due to the nature (and content) of the book, I’m not in a big hurry to share it with everyone.  Regardless, the book is almost done and there seems to be a very large demand in the market for people to read it.  It’s been soothing to have a project that we can all take our time with for once so that we all make sure that the book is as perfect as it’s going to be by the time you buy a copy.

Once we all get around to October of 2013, Icarus On The Mend will come out in two soft cover trade paperback volumes in a 6×9 format with the addition of at least one new chapter.  Brian Platter is working on an original photo reel cover for the first volume along with an identical photo negative for the second.

The long term objective for all of this is to release a third volume some twenty years from now as a companion piece to the former two.  Many people have asked me how I can release an autobiography when my life is (in fact) not over with yet.  I decided to start writing it a year ago so that I could retain as much information as possible while it was still instantly retrievable.  After ten years of freelancing, it felt like the right time to reflect on my life in order to prepare for the future.  I also feel that my experience with manic depression might be able to help others coping with the illness, whether it’s relatives, friends of those diagnosed or people with the actual diagnosis.

The book has already drawn more controversy than I expected and it’s not even out yet.  For once I wasn’t trying to cause any trouble and it showed up to the party anyway.  The majority of the dissension came from the fact that (in almost every instance), I’ve used real names in this book.  My intent as to why I’d do this has been called into question and I’m going to address this by saying that there are two ways that you can pen a memoir: You can open up a big gray area where you edit what actually happened and try to apply a complementary image to your life or you can work on being unflinchingly honest about yourself and others.  I haven’t compromised my art so far and I’m certainly not going to start now.  I didn’t use real names as a marketing ploy and (unless the events reported could have caused someone immediate harm), I didn’t use real names to cause anything scandalous.  Again, it felt like the right thing to do and my intentions were genuine.

I’m shooting for a $40 price point on the hardcover and a $15 price point on each soft cover.  It’s been awhile since I’ve released a book in hardcover format (If They Can’t Take A Joke), so I’m not sure if this will be possible, but that’s what we’re aiming at.  I appreciate all the feedback that those of you on Facebook have provided in the interim whether it was positive or negative and I’m pretty shocked by the amount of money some of you have been willing to shell out towards the manuscript.  It’s been very encouraging and it’s given me the initiative for that final push towards polishing off what’s left that needs to be done.  This won’t be my last book by a long shot, but the production window is buying me enough time for starting a family, taking a long break (if I’m capable of taking it) or the opportunity to focus on other projects and other authors for Doubt It Publishing.

Wrapping up, it looks as if The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour is receiving a You Rock award at Bravo on October 22nd to commemorate the Busted Stuff two-party from earlier in the year.  British journalist Joel Meadows will be my distinguished guest on Big Words Radio on October 25th, Richard Wicka will be my guest in November and we’re doing the Big Words Finale Show early in December.  The Buffalo News has also accepted my third and final My View submission for the year which should be running some time in October.  They have a three submission cap and one of my goals this year was to hit all three.  There’s also one month left for promising Buffalo authors to submit their original manuscripts for possible publication as a 2011 Doubt It Publishing Author Of The Year.  Manuscripts can be sent to: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com with ‘Submission’ in the subject field.

 

Have a great rest of the week and thanks for keeping up,

Tom Waters

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

June 22, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you this Sunday,

Tom Waters

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Commence Mockery in 3, 2…

March 31, 2011

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

 

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

 

For an excerpt of Jolene Zanghi’s interview,

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

 

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

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

-If They Can’t Take A Joke (HC) $20

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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Big Words 2 Year Anniversary Party TONIGHT at Double D’s Queen City Grill @ 8 p.m.!

December 11, 2008

Okay, I can’t believe I neglected to blog this yet and it’s outlandishly short notice, but tonight marks the auspicious 2 Year Anniversary Party for a little column I like to call ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’.  The place?  Double D’s Queen City Grill at 1051 Sheridan Drive on the border of Tonawanda and Buffalo (2 blocks past Elmwood on the left across from a gas station).  The time?  8 p.m. to ?.  What can you expect when you show up?  Celebrity appearances, prize giveaways (books, CDs, t-shirts, movie passes, etc.), crazy stupid drink specials and food specials. 

     Also, due to a very sad event with 12 Pack Jack (my condolences, gentlemen), the Dr. Z Band will be performing from 8 p.m. to midnight!  Live blues, free swag, great food, good company!  What else do you need?

Seeya tonight at Double D’s!  Be there or rot in hell!

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Knockin’ Em Dead: Monsters Of Verse Aftermath

June 18, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

June 9, 2008

Morning!

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

Tom Waters

Shameless Promotional Whoring 2008 Edition: One Night Only!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seeya at Desi’s,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 79 on stands/3 Weeks to the Monsters Of Verse/Think Twice Radio Gig Tomorrow!

May 26, 2008

Whelp, after a week of kicking back and freezing my ass of in Rushford and three days and two nights at Lindsay’s folks’ cabin in Angola, I can honestly say I’m rested and relaxed and ready to get back to the grind.  With no real promotional plan or upcoming book to promote, the engagements are piling back up anyway.  Gusto ran the Riley St. Station bar review on Friday and last Monday saw the conclusion to ‘Perpetual Estrogen’ in my Big Words I Know By Heart column in Night Life magazine.  Today, ‘Quiet Time Or Else’ hits the stands in the pages of Night Life magazine, a blind rant on the agitations of uncontrollable noise pollution.  Tomorrow (after a long delay dating back to last August), I’ll be hunkering down in the booth with poet, promotional wunderkind and music reviewer/interview Susan Marie for her show, ‘This is NOT the apple’ on Think Twice radio.  I’m not sure when it will be done with production and so forth, but keep checking over at: www.thinktwiceradio.com for details and I’ll throw up a post when I’m sure. 

     And after years of talking about it and originally missing a scheduled headline reading at the Center For Inquiry that we booked a year in advance, Carrie Gardner and myself with finally be sharing the stage together (along with the band Shaky Stage) at Desiderio’s on Broadway on Monday, June 16th at 8pm.  For all the details, scroll down to the previous post, but we’re three weeks away and this will in all likelihood be the ONLY time I’ll be performing on stage and signing the final batch of first edition hardcovers for If They Can’t Take A Joke at $20 a pop.   That night isn’t really about me, though.   The spotlight is on Carrie and Evil Is A Terrific, Rubbery Goblet, her phenomenal collection of very accessible and newby friendly poetry and prose which she’s selling for a cool $10.  I read it in one sitting, I’ve been a huge fan of her work since I interviewed her for ArtVoice back in 2004, and this is her first book of collected work.  If you can make it out that Monday and bring friends, do so.  And the gang at Desiderio’s have become (as I’m sure you know by now), dear, dear friends of mine.  I’ve reviewed a million bars for a million different papers over the years, but Desi’s is the only place where I hang my hat and I consider it a second home.  I’ve also come to know the band members for Shaky Stage and they’ve got some great songs and a rock-solid stage act in their own right.  We’re three weeks away.  Mark your calendar, rally up some people and make the trip.  You’ll be glad you did. 

That’s all I’ve got for today.  After being out of town on and off for so long, I’m chasing deadline on some new columns for Night Life for June, so I need to hammer out at least one more new piece for next month.  Have a fantastic Memorial Day and I’ll drop some more knowledge on you later in the week,

Tom Waters   

 

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The Monsters Of Verse June 16th at Desiderio’s!

May 23, 2008

Carrie Gardner (renowned poet and author of Evil Is A Terrific, Rubbery Goblet) presents an FREE evening of unprecedented entertainment the likes of which Buffalo has never seen before with a reading from her breakout, runaway smash hit book, Evil Is A Terrific, Rubbery Goblet (Authorhouse). The event will take place at Desiderio’s restaurant (on the corner of Broadway and Bowen) on Monday, June 16th at 8 p.m. The evening will open with a reading from Carrie, a performance from the band Shaky Stage, and close out with a rant or two from local author, bar reviewer and area goofball Tom Waters. All three powerhouse acts will be schlepping and signing their wares (books, CDs, etc.) throughout the evening. Attendance is free and multiple book and CD purchases are strongly recommended. Drinks and phenomenal food will be available from the crack team of culinary masterminds at Desiderio’s on Broadway. Come thirsty, come hungry, and bring many wads of cash for all out consumption and the entertainment extravaganza of the decade, no, better yet, a lifetime! Do not miss this once in a lifetime experience! You’ll regret it for the rest of your life if you do!

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

April 28, 2008

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

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

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

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

Tom Waters 

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Monday Big Words ANNIVERSARY! Week 52 on stands!

November 20, 2007

I never thought the column would make it this far, but this week marks the one year anniversary of ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ in Night Life magazine!  Happy anniversary to me!  This week’s column ‘Try Not To Think About Gun Toting Elephants’  (from If They Can’t Take A Joke) is sure to raise some eyebrows.  It’s a look at my views (extensively and using both barrels) on politics.  Part two hits the stands next week so grab the first installment this week! 

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 49 on stands, Carrie Gardner’s book is out!

October 29, 2007

This Monday, I’m rounding out the month with ‘The Docker Bums’ (from If They Can’t Take A Joke), a Carlinesque look at how lazy our society is getting from the pre-sliced cheese cube to microwavable soup.  Make sure to check it out in this week’s issue of Night Life! 

Also, my buddy Carrie Gardner’s first book, ‘Evil Is A Terrific, Rubbery Goblet’ is now available at AuthorHouse.  I stand by my claim that she’s the best living poet I’ve ever read, so if you want a great read, grab yourself a copy over at:

http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookStoreSearchResults.aspx?SearchType=smpl&SearchTerm=evil+is+a+terrific+rubbery+goblet

Show some Buffalo support, Big Words fans!  I’ll talk to you all next week,

Tom Waters

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Independant Stream Interview (Pt. 2)

July 8, 2007

Minneapolis’ own Gary Holdsteady interviewed me for a second time last week for Independant Stream, his popular Minnesota podcast that features mostly cult underground rock bands along with asking me some questions from listeners around the world as far as Texas, the United Kingdom, and Illinois!  Give it a listen over at:

http://independentstream.podomatic.com/entry/eg/2007-07-05T15_21_56-07_00

Gary got a little loaded towards the end of the interview, but he works an overnight job and tips a few back in the morning (which is more like evening for him), so that’s all right by me.  He even let me pick out the closing music (Talking Heads) as a big F You to some new Recording Association crusade against podcasts.   Let us know what you think and post a few comments on the site!

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 31 on stands/Rooftop Appearance Available via podcast!

June 25, 2007

Okay then!

This week’s issue of Night Life magazine is out with a Big Words installment of ‘A Vacation From My Problems!’, a rant about the angst of returning from, well, vacation.  With all the vacations and social engagements I’ve had in the last month, I haven’t had a whole lot of free time to write any new columns, so odds are that I’ll be running a few unseen classics for July, so keep your eyes peeled.

Also, Lisa Forrest (the founder of the Rooftop Poetry Club) informs me that my April appearance/reading at Buffalo State College is now available via the miracle of podcast on their web site.  If you want to give it a listen, click over to:

http://www.buffalostate.edu/library/rooftop/podcasts/2007-04-25.html

Do me a favor and ignore the photo.  For some reason, it looks like I’m wearing lipstick in that picture.  It must’ve been the Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. 

Also, don’t forget that I’ll be reading and signing books this Saturday at 7pm at the Caz Coffee Cafe on Abbot Rd. in South Buffalo along with Carrie Spadter and Susan Marie.  We had so much fun last time there that we decided to schedule another event once the weather was nicer.  Stop on out, buy ten books and hear some rants!  That’s all I’ve got for today.  Stay tuned for more updates!  Thanks,

Tom Waters 

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 30 on Stands/Minneapolis Interview Podcast Up!

June 18, 2007

Has it been 30 columns already?  Wow.  Well, that just sailed by.  I guess we’re over the hump with my year-goal on the Big Words I Know By Heart print column, so don’t forget to grab this week’s Night Life featuring ‘Feedback Distortion’, a diatribe about the twisted sort of comments from twisted people that I get from my print articles.  It pertained mostly to the Buffalo News My View columns that have run over the years (they rejected ‘Feedback’, most likely because it was pretty nasty), but I’ve gotten some humdingers from all publications and all walks of life. 

I’m also pleased to announce that the interview Gary Holdsteady conducted with me for Independant stream is now up online.  He asked some pretty insightful and challenging questions based on his feelings about ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ as well as some questions that listeners emailed in from the Minneapolis area and beyond and I, in turn, tried to answer them honestly and truthfully without being overly schmaltzy.  It was fairly candid, and I’m curious to see how his listeners respond because I was more open than goofy for the duration of the podcast.  Big thanks go out to Gary for tracking me down and not only asking the hard hitting questions but quoting the new book as well.  As someone who interviews people himself, it was nice for a change to see that the person interviewing me did their homework.  Give it a listen yourself and post your own comments at:

 http://independentstream.podomatic.com/entry/eg/2007-06-17T19_21_53-07_00

Gary informed me that it will be a two parter, so if you have any questions for me, you can email them in to him via the Independant Stream site.

And lastly, I’ve got some great pics from my weekend in Angola that I’ll be posting up on the YourHub site on Wednesday or thereabouts.  I’ve got a direct link on the bottom left along with a lot of other picture-oriented posts.  That’s all I’ve got for you today, web slingers.  Get your Night Life, boot up the podcast and take a ride! 

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The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal Episode 35: Has it been five guest spots already?/Buffalo News My View rant yesterday…

June 7, 2007

After another day at the Uncle Hal studio (reaching the coveted five timer’s club), Episode 35 of The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal is a wrap, B!  Hal let me off my chain yesterday to run rampant, so we tried to offend the ten percent of the world that wasn’t horrifically mortified from my last appearance (Episode 28 or 29, I believe).  Blind kids, pedophiles and bestiality, oh my!  Listen in RIGHT NOW at:

 www.powunclehal.com

We had a riot again yesterday and once again took things too far, so you really should give it a listen.  Hal informed me that for the month of May, the show was downloaded almost 4,000 times!  That’s a big audience.  See why everyone’s listening in at:

www.powunclehal.com

And I found out around midnight last night that the Buffalo News ran my MyView rant about Butch (‘Butch & Tom’) under the byline of ‘I realize I’ve become a chip off the old block’.  They never let me know when the My Views are going in, so I normally find out by accident.  It figures that it had to be the one day out of the week that I didn’t pick up the paper.  The original essay ran a lot longer, and I felt like it lost something in the editing, but initial responses have been pretty positive.  I’ll run the full piece in it’s entirety some time here over the weekend, so check back. 

And this weekend, I’ll be at the Buffalo News Collectible Convention at the Millenium Hotel (on Walden Ave. in Cheektowaga right before the Galleria Mall) from 10-4pm selling and signing copies of the new book, so stop on out!  Now that I’ve got my camera back, I’ll be taking oodles of pictures of the event to post up the YourHub site.  But in the meantime, listen to the new Uncle Hal!

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 23 on Stands/Club W This Thursday

April 30, 2007

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Today is also the day that the new Night Life magazine is out with the new ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ columns!  You don’t want to miss the next five issues, and from the response that ‘The Best Laid Nervous Breakdowns’ (a rant about the insanity of wedding planning) got, you definitely don’t want to miss this week’s issue!  So what are you waiting for?  Go pick up an issue now!

Also, now that April is over, I’m going to cool my heels a bit with the book promotions for If They Can’t Take A Joke.  However, I’ll be doing a bit of standup this Thursday at 7 pm at Club W on Delaware (just past Chippewa) this Thursday along with the musical genius of Michael Bly.  I was so busy for the last two weeks of April that I forgot to add the calendar listings, so make it out if you can.  It’s the only event I’m doing this week, so be there or be square!

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Alma Mater: Buffalo State Aftermath

April 26, 2007

     I was having a terrible day yesterday until I actually did my reading at Buffalo State for the Rooftop Poetry Club.  Traffic was horrendous, some old person took ten minutes to use the ATM machine, just a rotten day.  I popped over to the Buffalo Spree offices for the first time and got to meet Elizabeth Licata (the editor in chief) and drop off a comp copy of the book for review purposes.

Then I got to Buff State and the Visitor parking section was chock full, so I had to risk parking a mile away and possibly getting a ticket (which I didn’t, thank god).  The turnout was not spectacular, but we had a tight knit group of students and poets who showed up during miserable weather and I read a brand new piece (‘The Best Laid Nervous Breakdown’) that I wrote this week about how brutal wedding planning is.  It’ll be going into the Night Life print column this Monday, so you don’t want to miss out on the new issue.  It felt nice to be back on campus for the first time in three years and to feel like I belonged on some level.  I wish that the Club was around when I attended as a student, and I plan on popping back in for their other events after all the book promotions are over.  Many thanks to Lisa Forrest for setting up the event and Sarah Reis for splitting the bill with me.  I truly enjoyed my time there yesterday and once the podcast is up on their site, I’ll pop a link up here. 

     Afterwards, I realized that my Club W appearance downtown is next Thursday, so instead of staying home (which I wanted to do more than anything), I went out.  First I hit the Green Buffalo to hang out with some of the gang from Salon On The Avenue (where I get my hair cut) and then I popped over to the Hidden Shamrock.  Both places were mobbed with Sabres bandwagoneers.  Where were all these fans five months ago?  Sports posers fascinate me.  So I had a few doubles of whiskey, a few frosty Guinnesses, and a few Bud Lights before Michael Bly showed up.  I gave Mike some posters for the event (which I’d been meaning to do, but haven’t had the time) and attempted to chat with him, but he was getting talked up by some fans.  My buddy Brendan showed up (late) and we shared one more Guinness until I begged off early at 10:30. 

     I’ve got about two more weeks of promotions and then I’m taking a break for the rest of May.  I am dog tired from all these promotions and out of my mind for scheduling so many so close together.  I’m still working on setting up some spots for June, but they’re not going to be as intensive and all encompassing as the rest of this month has been.  I realized this Monday that I’d really like to have more free time to a)enjoy and b)write some new material.  Crass Menagerie is at the 70 page mark and I’m starting to get nuerotic about running too much of my backlog in the print column.   

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Talking Leaves Elmwood Appearance

April 22, 2007

Whelp, it was a beautiful day in Buffalo today and I had my signing at Talking Leaves on Elmwood Avenue.  Unfortunately for me (even though Jonathan and I planned our event at Elmwood two months ago), Just Buffalo scheduled an appearance at Talking Leaves on Main Street with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Carl Dennis.  La de da. 

I showed up at twenty after one (way too early) and the bookstore was beautiful.  It was my first time in there and I got to see Alicia Hoffman, an old, old friend from way, way back whom I haven’t seen or corresponded with in almost six years.  When I self published my first book (Soup To Nuts), Alicia went out on a limb and booked me for a comedy showcase with three professional comedians.  I’ll never forget that.  Alicia and I got caught up a bit and then we set up our table.  Then it quieted down.  I sold one hardcover.

I was happy about the one hardcover (because it’s someone who wouldn’t normally buy the book), but the day and the event were pretty much a dud.  I never play well downtown for some reason.  I do better in the suburbs where people aren’t as concerned about wearing what the hep people are wearing and reading what the hep people are reading.   Maybe I’m just not elitist, liberal or pretentious enough for the Elmwood crowd.  Lord knows that once the reviews hit that that crowd will attempt to be hip and pick up the book, so I guess I’ll make nice then.  It would be really great if they could formulate their own opinions and take a chance instead of having to be told what’s good in the paper and following the herd blindly.  Cest la vis.  The book is still raking in money, so I’ve got no complaints.  I talked to my superstar agent Buddy Dow at Trafford and he’s forwarded the book on to their traditional publishing house for possible inclusion, which could be huge.  Keep your fingers crossed for me and maybe I can learn to turn my nose up at the world like half the crowd on Elmwood, too!

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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… 

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FYE Williamsville Aftermath/3 Days In A Row

April 15, 2007

Saturday was a good day.  I got to visit my parents (they just returned from Florida) for all of a half hour in the morning and then I had to shoot up to FYE on Transit and Wherle for their in store promotion.  After missing Katie (the promotional manager) on the phone for the last six to eight weeks and not having any of my messages passed along, she wasn’t sure what to make of me.  We set up a table near the front with a nice array of books new and old and I got down to it a little bit before noon.  I met a nice older couple who drove all the way from Lockport (after hearing my appearance on Brian Kahle’s show on Tuesday) to pick up a copy of the book.  Boyd, the husband, was a collector of rare books and a former nudist.  He looked like a sweet old man who could be anybody’s grandfather, so I was worried that the new book might offend him before he dropped that bombshell.  Then another pleasant older man from Clarence who’s a practicing magician stopped at the table and grabbed a hardcover.  We swapped stories about vaudeville and the ancient order of magicians.  Older folks don’t necessarily fit my demographic, but perhaps my demographic is evolving, which is nice to know. 

Paulie, the brother of one of my buddies from high school, stopped up with his girlfriend and bought a copy of the bar book.  A Clarence mom who was working on her autobiography shot the breeze with me for awhile about writing and then came back with her two daughters to pick up a hardcover.  It was a steady day leading up to four o’clock and I wanted to make one more sale to round out the afternoon, but it looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  There was a good hour and a half where I just acted like a goofball to grab customer’s attention, playing with my slide whistle, my butterfly yo yo, and scampering around on the sales floor by wheeling my chair across the tiles.  Then, as I was packing up, a man came forward with his wife or girlfriend and said ‘Confrontational humor, eh?  Sounds a lot like me!’  He turned out to be a lawyer who commanded a paralegal firm.  He scooped up a hardcover at the last minute.  I was happy.  I didn’t sell as many books as I did a week prior at the FYE in Hamburg, but I sold a lot more copies of the new book, and they were all hardcovers, so I made the same amount of money! 

I got home and there was a fat check from the Buffalo News for two of my Gusto Club Watch reviews.  I had no idea what they paid for them (and it doesn’t really matter to be honest, because I’m happy to be writing for them), but they pay pretty well!  I can make some pretty good money this year if I keep up my assignments with them.  Then I crashed out and delegated the rest of the evening to some r&r with friends watching the BBC ‘The Office’ boxed set that I picked up after my stint at FYE.  I’ve never seen the show, but it’s pretty damned funny. 

This upcoming week, I’ve gotta push for the burn, because I’ve got three or four big appearances three days in the row.  If I can make it through this week, the rest will be downhill.  On Monday, I’ll be appearing with legendary local poet Carrie Spadter at the Caz Coffee Cafe in South Buffalo at 7pm.  Then I’m up early Tuesday morning for an interview with Clay and Dale on Country 106.5 FM WYRK at 8:30 am.  After that interview, I’m doing a phone interview with Scott Leffler for his Dialog show on 1340 AM at 11 am.  If I’ve got any gas left in the tank on Tuesday, I’m going to pop over to the Uncle Hal studios for a bit to celebrate the Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal’s 30th episode.  Wednesday night at 7pm, I’m speaking at the Lancaster Public Library for a reading/Q&A combo.  It’s a busy week, so I’m forcing myself to relax so that I’ve got the energy to make it through. 

I’m amazed at how well the new book has been doing and it feels like the momentum from all of the other ones is kicking in.  FYE asked me to make a second pass some time in June.  The Buffalo News informed me that their review of the book should be going in within the next month.  This all goes to show you that if you stick around long enough and keep hammering away at what you believe in, people can’t help but take you seriously eventually.  I look at all of this as PR in the bank for the next humor collection, which is by far the best collection I’ve ever written.  For now I’m focusing on talking up If They Can’t Take A Joke, though, which is no slouch by any means. 

I wanted to throw some pictures up, but my camera is still on the fritz and I couldn’t figure out how to use my parents’ memory stick from their digital camera.  I’ll have to show you another time.  Talk to you tomorrow during the regular Monday update,

Tom Waters   

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The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal Episode 29/Kahle & Co. Aftermath

April 13, 2007

I left the house at 10:30 in the morning (to mail out a comp copy of the book to Buffalo Rising before my first radio spot) yesterday and, after back to back radio interviews and a Gusto Club review assignment at Whiskey Joe’s, got home at 12:30, but that’s show biz, folks!  Listening to the comedic gold right now that took place in the studio during what will soon be the legendary 29th episode of the Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal makes it all worthwhile.  I’m not asking you, I’m telling you, you NEED TO HEAR THIS SHOW!  My last appearance (episode 24, I believe) was off the chain, this one is five miles off the reservation.  Hal and I channelled some kind of stupendously hilarious insanity yesterday for the almost two hour episode and you won’t want to miss one second of it.  By the end of the episode, everyone will be offended and we should end up lynched or in chains by the end of the week.  Click on over RIGHT NOW at:

 www.powunclehal.com

 Kahle and Co. on 1340 AM was a great time and Brian worked in some solid plugs for the new book before I read ‘We Love You, Buffalo! Good Night’ from If They Can’t Take A Joke.  Brian also told me that he’s starting a new television show that will air on Time Warner television shooting from his home, so I’m pretty psyched about that, too.  I’ve been on Kahle’s show almost a dozen times by now and aside from being a broadcasting legend, he’s an all around nice guy and a consummate professional.  I also set up a phone interview with Scott Leffler late next Tuesday (after my radio time on WYRK) for his Dialog show around eleven am on 1340. 

Directly after the WLVL interview, I popped onto the Millersport Highway to the Uncle Hal grotto and we hammered out the show with loving care in three hours.  I wanted to drop off some books at Talking Leaves, but I was spent in every sense of the word after the show and drove home for an hour and a half coma before heading up to Whiskey Joe’s around eight thirty.

I had a great time up at Whiskey Joe’s joined by my friends Gregg Sansone and Anonymous Drinking Buddy X.  We loaded up on whiskey, fingers, wings and their spectacular ranch seasoned french fries and I made it home after midnight having only seen my fiancee for five minutes that day.  Lindsay’s been a real trooper this week and no one misses being home more than me, but this is how it goes.  In five more weeks, it’ll all be over and I can breath a sigh of relief.  If you take anything away with you from this post, LISTEN TO THE UNCLE HAL SHOW BECAUSE IT IS COMEDY GOLD!  Visit the site, laugh your butt off and post some comments.  I can’t say enough about this podcast, so you’ll have to listen yourself!   

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Monday Update! Week 20 on Stands/Happy Dyngus Day!

April 9, 2007

Whelp, now that I’ve survived the volley of promotions over the weekend as well as Easter, I’ve decided to counter my crippling exhaustion by going out drinking for Dyngus Day, one of my favorite drinking holidays of the year!  I made a vow this year to make it out for St. Patrick’s, Dyngus Day and Cinco De Mayo, and goddamnit, I’m going to do it!  Since I need a pre-party nap, I’m going to make this Monday update brief.  The new issue of Night Life is on stands with ‘On Being A Large, Land Based Mammal’, my essay from If They Can’t Take A Joke about being a fat man.  As for other things, I’m planning on being on Brian Kahle’s radio show Wednesday at 12:30 on 1340 AM and I’m going into the studio the same day to co-host for ‘The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal’ pod cast.  That’s all I’ve got for you, now.  I’ll write more when I have time and I’ve rested up.  Happy Dyngus Day! 

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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. 

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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:

 www.acidlogic.com

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  

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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     

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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!         

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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! 

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 19 on Stands (and RIGHT HERE!) 6 Days Until Launch at Desiderio’s!

March 26, 2007

Now things are starting to get exciting!

We’re only six days away from the official launch for my fourth (or fifth if you count Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish) book, If They Can’t Take A Joke: Confrontational Humor For The Casual Bibliophile!  If you live in Buffalo, I want to see you at Desiderio’s this Sunday, April Fool’s Day at 7 pm, sharp!  I caught Lana and Hund last Friday at Desiderio’s during one of their shows and they are a lock.  Michael Bly (who will also be performing Sunday) is a lock.  And you know I’m gonna be there.  The entire event is free (although I’m asking humbly that you throw a couple bucks in a jar for the musical guests), so what reason do you have not to miss the triple threat of 2007? 

I was also informed today that If They Can’t Take A Joke is now available on not only my publisher’s web site (where it’s two dollars cheaper for the trade paperback and the hardcover) at www.authorhouse.com but also on Amazon, Barnes and Noble’s web site, Border’s web site, and pretty much everyone else’s web site.  It’s looking like I won’t have the hardcover edition available in time for the launch, so if you want a copy of the book in the dust jacket hardcover, you’ll get it faster if you order NOW!  So click on over to authorhouse’s site and buy the damned thing!

That’s all the plugging I’ve got today.  Well, not really.  Since it’s Monday, there’s a new print issue of the Big Words column in Night Life magazine on stands today with the second installment of ‘Shameless Promotional Whoring’.  I’m enclosing it here for your enjoyment since it’s also about Sunday’s event.  I’ll talk to you all in a week (after the initial hoopla),

Tom Waters

Shameless Promotional Whoring Pt.II

Now that we’ve all gotten our drink and our snack and our party on from St. Patty’s at The Hidden Shamrock, you should all be well into third gear for the really big book launch! Are you guys ready for an all out, no holds barred literary BASH? Well I hope so. There are great things in store for this Sunday, kids. Great things indeed. Because this Sunday, April 1st, I’m kicking off my First Annual April Foolfest at Desiderio’s on Broadway and Bowen in the town of Lancaster. I know Lancaster knows how to rock the party that rocks the body, but what about the rest of you, Buffalo? Are you man enough to man up and be part of the bash of the decade? Show me your best! This Sunday (starting at 7pm) I’ll be kicking off the official launch of my new humor collection, If They Can’t Take A Joke: Confrontational Humor For The Casual Bibliophile. It’s about two hundred pages of scathing, confrontational rants and celebrity interviews featuring author Bret Easton Ellis, comic writers Mike Carey, Brian Azzarello and Brian K. Vaughn along with some local writers, artists and musicians. You know what? I’ll just run the publicity blurb right here instead of trying to paraphrase:

Critically lauded Buffalo humor writer Tom Waters sharpens his craft with essays to razor precision in his fourth published collection of wickedly subversive and laugh out loud rants, essays, and celebrity interviews. The author reloads his calculated wit on topics like babies, pornography, restaurants, relationships, driving, wrestling, coffee addiction, weight gain, psychotherapy, writers portrayed in film, the eroding laziness of our culture, drive-thrus, cooking, republicans, and the agony of shopping for clothes with women. The collection also reprints some of Tom’s most popular celebrity interviews with author Bret Easton Ellis, comic legends Mike Carey and Brian Azzarello and cult film director Lloyd Kaufman.

Waters has enjoyed a rabid cult following among his fans and continues to shock, amuse, and offend with his no-nonsense brand of confrontational rants. Compared as a cross between Andy Rooney, Dennis Miller and Denis Leary, his angst-fueled nonfiction endures as a legacy to the Y generation, an amusing threat to baby boomers, and an inspiration to angry young men the world over. His books and articles have appeared in over four countries and have thus far sold thousands of copies. He’s performed his work on the radio, on stage, and in print for almost twenty years, garnering an award for humor from Columbia University and finding publication in The Buffalo News, ArtVoice, Night Life Magazine, Acid Logic, Film Fax, Too Much Coffee Man Magazine, and The Circle, among others. His last collection, First Person, Last Straw, was described as ’a jolting read’ (Anthony Violanti, Buffalo News) and ’a book that gives as much as it takes from you’ (Brian Bogucki, ArtVoice).

Should I up the ante a little bit more, Buffalo? Just say the word. All right then. I’m not going to be the only person on stage this Sunday, because I’m bringing TWO musical acts with me! Local legend Michael Bly will be performing along with Lana and Hund! How’s that for entertainment? And to top it all off, we’re doing this gig for free! I am asking for donations at the door, though, as all three acts are volunteering their time and their talents to help me promote the new book, for which I am very grateful, so please drop a few bucks in the jar at the door so that these musicians don’t go home empty handed. I’d like to take a moment to personally thank Michael Bly and Lana and Hund for saying yes from the word go. It means the world to me. I’m going to read a few select pieces to start the night off and then I’m going to let the musical guests do what they do best, which is rock your f-ing socks off! This is going to be one hell of a party, and if all goes well, we’ll be doing it again next year, same bat time, same bat channel, same bat bar.

I’ll also be promoting all over the place this month for the book, so don’t forget to check my events either on my official site (the web address just below my fat black and white head up there), my YourHub.com site (Big Buffalo I Know By Heart), or Buffalo.com. Don’t think I’m not running listings in ArtVoice and the Buffalo News Gusto as well, because I’ll have the events up there, too. April is going to be one phenomenal month, Buffalo. Why don’t you join me? I’ll see ALL of you this Sunday at 7 pm at Desiderio’s. I wouldn’t miss it for the world, and there are still a few surprises I’m saving for the launch. Let’s have some laughs, sell some books, slam some shots and rock out Lancaster!

Replacing the battery in my spinning bowtie,

Tom ‘buy my goddamned book!’ Waters

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Final March/April Calendar Of Events for ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke: Confrontational Humor For The Casual Bibliophile’ by Tom Waters

March 23, 2007

March/April Book Promotions for Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars and If They Can’t Take A Joke: Confrontational Humor For The Casual Bibliophile by Tom Waters

Note: These are the final dates and details for March and April.  I’ll include the May listings as we get closer to the actual month.   

Saturday, March 31st, 12pm-6pm: Buffalo Small Press Book Fair at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, 453 Porter Avenue in Buffalo.  Buy If They Can’t Take A Joke: Confrontational Humor For The Casual Bibliophile by Tom Waters a day before the official launch!

Sunday, April 1st, 7pm-12am: First Annual April Foolfest at Desiderio’s on Broadway and Bowen in Lancaster.  Offical launch for If They Can’t Take A Joke: Confrontational Humor For The Casual Bibliophile by Tom Waters in hard cover and soft cover.  Reading and signing followed by musical acts Michael Bly and Lana and Hund.  Admission is free, donations accepted at the door for musical guests.

Thursday, April 5th, 7pm-9pm: Book reading and signing for If They Can’t Take A Joke by Tom Waters at the Clarence Center Coffee Co.  (corner of Clarence Center Rd. and Goodrich in Clarence Center). 

Saturday, April 7th, 12pm-4pm: Book signing for If They Can’t Take A Joke by Tom Waters at F.Y.E Hamburg.  Located in the Mckinley Mall plaza in the town of Hamburg. 

Saturday, April 7th, 7pm-11pm: Tom’s Atomic Kegger 2!  Book signing and free beer all night for everyone who purchases a copy of If They Can’t Take A Joke by Tom Waters.  20% all comics, toys and collectibles at Don’s Atomic Comics, Transit Rd. in Depew in the Red Wings Shoes/Burgandy Room plaza.  Must be 21 or older to receive free beer.

Saturday, April 14th, 12pm-4pm: Book signing for If They Can’t Take A Joke by Tom Waters at F.Y.E Amherst.  Located on Transit and Wherle in the town of Lancaster.

Monday, April 16th, 7 pm: Reading and signing for If They Can’t Take A Joke with local poet Carrie Spadter at Caz Coffee Café, Orchard Park. 

Wednesday, April 18th.  7 pm.  Reading, signing and author Q & A for If They Can’t Take A Joke by Tom Waters at the Lancaster Public Library.  Located on Broadway near Central Avenue in the town of Lancaster.  

Sunday, April 22nd, 2pm-4pm.  Book signing for If They Can’t Take A Joke by Tom Waters at Talking Leaves Elmwood.  Located on Elmwood Ave. past Forest in the city of Buffalo.

Wednesday, April 25th, 4pm-5pm.  Book reading, signing and author Q&A session for If They Can’t Take A Joke by Tom Waters for the Rooftop Poetry Club at Buffalo State College.  Located in the campus library ‘on the rooftop’ at Buffalo State College, Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.     

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 18 on Stands, ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ in my hands!!!!

March 19, 2007

So the ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish’ promotion came and went and was a smashing success and now we’re rounding the final stretch to the big launch of ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ in 13 DAYS!  We are now less than two weeks away from the bash at Desiderio’s on Broadway on April Fool’s Day and I’m pumped!  Authorhouse just sent me one of my comp copies of the book today and it’s the best looking book yet from an aesthetic standpoint.  At 271 pages and $18, it’s also the best value of any book I’ve ever released, so soak up all that Watersy goodness!  Spread it on!  You can buy a copy (or 15 copies, for that matter) right this second at:

 www.authorhouse.com  

The new issue of Night Life is on stands today with ‘Portrait Of Health’, a little ditty (from next year’s ‘Slapstick & Superego’) about how reprehensible my eating, drinking and exercise habits are.  I won’t be reprinting that one here.  I will, however, be simultaneously running next week’s column the same day it hits stands, as next week’s column comprises Part Two of my ‘Shameless Promotional Whoring’ series, of which I’m sure there will be more.  And speaking of promotional whoring, I’ll be sitting down with the good folks at 97 Rock to talk about going onto their morning show to promote the new book in April.  I’ll keep this post brief as I’m still recovering from Saturday’s festivities and I’d like to read the book through in one shot to see how it holds up as a body of work.  I think you’re going to be really, really impressed, Buffalo!  Talk to you soon,

Tom Waters 

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‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish’ Aftermath!

March 18, 2007

Jill, one of the best bartenders at 'The Rock'!

Jill balancing perhaps her fourth tray of green shots during St. Patrick’s Day at Hidden Shamrock.

     The Hidden Shamrock was a mob scene yesterday, and I don’t think we could’ve packed in any more people if we wanted to. Aside from my promotion for the book ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars’, they had traditional Irish folk dancing as well as five dollar pitchers of green beer (which they ran out of around eleven o’clock. There had to be at least two hundred and fifty people at the Shamrock yesterday, and since I committed to appearing there from six pm to twelve am on St. Patrick’s Day, I drank from….six pm until about eleven thirty. Ten years ago, I was a bit more spry when it came to marathon drinking, but yesterday, I did my best to pace myself, and sold a payload of books in the process. Michael Bly popped in and did some shots to show some support for the book (even though he had his own gig at Kodiak Jack’s in Elma) and fellow pal and author Alycia Ripley popped in towards the end to buy a copy of the book. It wasa rousing, drunken, foot stomping, whiskey swilling good time. Many thanks to Tom, Kevin, Jill, Kindra and everyone else at The Hidden Shamrock. We’ll have to do something again next year. It was good practice for the real book launch on April Fool’s Day with ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’. If you missed yesterday, then you definitely don’t want to miss April Fool’s at Desiderio’s on Broadway! Seeya in two weeks,
Tom Waters

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If They Can’t Take A Joke NOW AVAILABLE in trade paperback! Order Now!

March 17, 2007

I just wanted to let you all know that the trade paperback version of If They Can’t Take A Joke is NOW AVAILABLE from my publisher’s web site at www.authorhouse.com !  You’re not going to hurt my feelings if you’d rather have the 272 page trade paperback over the dust jacket hardcover (as a matter of fact, I make more royalties on the trade paperback), so start your ordering!  I don’t care if you buy it from me in April (although my personal bank of books WILL BE LIMITED throughout the month), in bookstores (when they get them) or through the web site, but remember that if you’re ordering online, the new book is 2 dollars cheaper from the Authorhouse site over any of the other online book retailers.  So what are you waiting for?  Be the first on your block to own my fourth humor collection, now with 100% less poetry!  Here is the direct link for your book ordering pleasure:http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail~bookid~44407.aspx

Buy ten copies and I’ll wash your car!  Tell all your friends, tell your loved ones and tell your enemies by taping the address to a brick you throw through their window, but BUY NOW!!!  Don’t delay, order today! 

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Validation! Buffalo News Gusto Club Watch Review Today!

March 16, 2007

After six weeks (due to some editing concerns and a steady backlog of other reviews), my first bar review premiered in The Buffalo News Gusto today on Mazariello’s in Lancaster/Depew.  As I’ve said before, my bar reviews from this point on are the property of The Buffalo News, so I will be unable to reprint them anywhere (in books, on this site, anywhere), so spend the fifty cents and pick one up.  This is a huge milestone for me and I’m really happy to be taking assignments from the News on a regular basis moving forward.  It’s a dream to work for them as a Union staff writer at some point down the road, and this is one small step towards that goal.  After five years of writing bar reviews for Night Life, I’ve finally hit the big time and all this hard work is beginning to pay off.  Those of you who’ve been along for the ride since around 2000 will see this as no surprise, but for many Buffalo readers, this will be the first time they’ve ever read anything of mine.  This can only mean great things for the new book(s) as we approach the launch(es).  Oh, and don’t forget, I’ll be at the Hidden Shamrock TOMORROW from 6-12 selling and signing copies of Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars!  Be there or be square, and if I seem standoffish, it’s only because I’m shy, so walk up, introduce yourself, buy a book and have a drink with me!

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‘Prometheus Packs A Zippo’ from Crass Menagerie

March 9, 2007

I’m three weeks away from my fourth book, and here I am giving away an exercise that won’t be published until my sixth.  What other writer in Buffalo is willing to give away so much free material and still leave the best for their books, I ask you?  None of them!  As I promised to my email newsletter subscribers (which you can become a member of by subscribing for free by emailing bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com ), here is a second essay for our bimonthly edition.  If you’re not on the list, then you missed the first one.  In the immortal words of Denis Leary, ‘Life sucks, get a helmet.’  Seriously, though, sign up for the newsletter.  It will change your life and give you a full head of hair.  Here’s the new essay regardless:

Prometheus Packs A Zippo

It seems like every time I embark on the eve of a new book promotion, I have a sad tale of loss and woe that’s unflinchingly honest and inspirational enough to propel me to new heights and accomplishments. Well, I don’t have one this time. It appears as if most of my bad luck is out of my system and I’m joining the travelers on the good karma lollipop this time. Some readers love to read about how I got the shit kicked out of me, how I kicked the shit out of myself, or how I finished a chapter in my life kicking myself in the ass for my own foolishness. Not this time. In a month, I’ll be hitting the front line to promote not one, but two books. One is a trifle that I cobbled together over the course of a weekend full of bar reviews. It’s called Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish, and it’s a little portable reader about Buffalo Bars chronicling my last five years of writing off-the-wall bar reviews. The other is my fourth humor collection, and a quantum leap in style for me as well as a departure of other sorts. That one’s called If They Can’t Take A Joke, and for better or worse, the body of work asserted itself as a book about relationships. I’m in the best possible starting position for this promotion, better than I’ve ever been in terms of contacts, publicity and bookings. I don’t have much of a story about being down and out but I’m sure I can give you something. Real life doesn’t always have a definitive character arc or a story progression. Here’s mine for the last year.

I finished schilling First Person, Last Straw (my third published book and my fourth book altogether) some time in the middle of November due to demands at work and all around exhaustion from touring the Buffalo area. Somehow I landed the book in Media Play, a national superstore that carries books, movies and music, and I appeared at all five or six locations in the county. The two or three months that I toured with the book and did standup appearances went pretty well, all in all. I launched the book at Desiderio’s (a local restaurant/night club) to a pretty good crowd, landed some radio interviews, showed up at a local book fair sponsored by The Buffalo News and drove to a locally owned bookstore to read for awhile to a crowd of three people. I’ve known other people who inflate their attendance numbers and make complicated lies about how they did in terms of turnout and book sales, but I don’t see the point in lying. I do okay for myself and that’s enough. I’d prefer to be honest. I opened for a band at Macaroon’s Night Club in Cheektowaga to a crowd of people who were mostly in their forties and fifties and got heckled. I read on through my four page rant about Buffalo drivers unphased, and when I got off the stage I wandered next to the jackass who was shooting his mouth off and he didn’t seem to have a peep to say to me. I’ll work on my comebacks this time around.

Christmas came and went and I had every intention of promoting more. There are two schools of thought about book promotion and I follow the notion that it’s better to run myself ragged for a month than space everything out so that I have no freedom and no privacy over the course of a year. I prefer to stay behind the scenes most of the time. Plus I need a life and some personal time to actually write these books. After Christmas, we went through a merger at work and I got a new boss. I’ve never dealt well with change. Then I found out that Media Play was going out of business. They were my biggest break to date and it crushed me to find out that my book wasn’t going to be on shelves at a chain anymore. Anxiety crept in through the cracks and depression followed shortly thereafter. That, and I was blocked. After writing a treatise about turning 30 (’Thoughts On 30’) and about how I was over writer’s block, that’s exactly what I got. I was out of the habit and it was tough to jump back in. So I started drinking until three in the morning. This never helps.

My buddy Finn got me into Charles Bukowski, so I went into poet mode and kept writing, but in a different mode. In the span of six months, I penned about sixty pages worth of free verse and labored away on my first full poetry collection. Conceptually, I decided that I was done with the three tiered format of essays, projects and prose for my books. It was time to move on. They functioned for a long time as a good showcase, but it was time to grow up as a writer, so my main focus would remain on essays while the interviews, bar reviews, poetry and other projects could kindly set up residence elsewhere. The prospect of writing a book entirely made up of rants and commentary was daunting, as I’ve never done that before. So I stalled somewhere around page thirty, picked up a glass of whiskey and disappeared inside of myself for a good six months. Sure it was grueling and emotionally painful and demeaning, but we’ve all been here before. I don’t need to go into it at length. I knew what the period was, and I gave in to it. Bipolar (for me) is and always will be a bitch. I’ll take the bad with the good, and so did Lindsay. This was my second down cycle in our relationship and she stuck it out with me, going out for drinks with friends when she was tired of being cooped up in the house and being loving and supportive with me in my cocoon at home while I wasn’t working.

When I can’t write, I am miserable. Therefore, I drink a lot more, and I drink alone, at that. This isn’t an exceptional quality for most writers, and I know I’m not the first one to come up with this healthy and functional way of dealing with a lack of creativity. I read another six or seven Bukowski books and let the sadness and desolation of the writer speak to me, perhaps too much. Months passed and I was no longer writing bar reviews and interviews for Night Life, ArtVoice or The Buffalo News, my three mainstays in the Buffalo area. I called Ed (my editor at Night Life) and told him that I wouldn’t be around for awhile, and that the depression was getting the best of me. This was the first time I brought him into the fold. He understood, and told me not to be a stranger.

Now it’s a bitch to build up an audience and then pull a Houdini on them. If and when you ever come back, you have to win them back one reader at a time, and this takes time. Up to this point, I had no solution for how I would keep people in the loop when the darkness descended, so I had to repeat this process for five or six years. While I was in the planning stages for First Person, Last Straw, I set up a catch-all blog site to inform my fans of what I was up to, and I kept the credo that the site would focus only on publishing, writing, and book related information. The site chugged along with a few updates over the course of those ten months.

By October of 2006, I was starting to come out of it. We had a company convention in Dallas and most of my friends and co-workers were asking about my writing and how it was going. Just the activity of talking about it with people was enough to get the wheels moving again. When I got back from Texas, a tiny idea popped into my head about walking around with my fly down and I rushed out an essay (’Zip Sliding Away’). If They Can’t Take A Joke, my follow up book to First Person, Last Straw, had been complete for almost a year. I’m neurotic that way. I won’t publish or promote a book until I’m at least half way done with the next. ’Zip Sliding Away’ was the first essay I’d written for my fifth book in almost a year. After that, the well spring of support propelled me forward to write more.

Now there was a time when I was content to just write with or without an audience. Those times are long gone. I look at my fans and my friends in all the gray areas as a support group. They keep me from getting too cocky, they keep me from going of the deep end, and they let me know when I’m on the right track. My writing process continues to evolve and transmutate over the years. When I was writing If They Can’t Take A Joke, the plan was to write one article a week to stay fresh and to stay ahead of my readers by three or four articles, and I stuck to that schedule for quite some time. When I stopped writing new material, I stopped sending out my bimonthly newsletter, ’Big Words I Know By Heart’. Always leave them wanting more. I didn’t want to show my readers everything I’ve written, and I still manage to talk them into buying the books because they’re still missing out on forty to sixty percent of my work even if they hit all the web sites and pick up all the publications I appear in. By mid October of 2006, that process went out the window. My brainstorming method of jotting down little ideas into a notebook to find out which ones turned into big ideas went out the window. All of it went out with the baby and the bathwater. This was a new dawn.

Dawn indeed. I realized in the back of my mind that I had some catching up to do. I was tired of going two years before a follow up book, and I started waking up at six and seven in the morning after staying up until one in the morning finishing a piece. Instead of writing one essay a week, I was writing three or four off the top of my head. I got up first thing in the morning, brewed a coffee, and went to work. Writing had become a job for me that I could turn on and off like a switch, and I couldn’t be happier. By November, I felt confident enough about my recovered creativity that I called my editor at Night Life and told him that I wanted back in, but under one condition. I wanted a humor column. I would still do bar reviews from time to time, but the time had come to start doing what I wanted to do. And to sweeten the deal, I’d be able to write it year round, block or no block. With over a thousand pages of backlogged material (most of which has never seen print thanks to the assignments and constrictions of most journalistic publications in this town), I had essays to burn. I knew that Ed was the only editor in town who would print my outrageous, offensive, foul-mouthed tirades intact in this town. He took the bait. Starting late in November, we premiered ’Big Words I Know By Heart’.

Now I don’t know if I’ve ever told this story about the name of the column, the newsletter and the web site, but I’ll digress for a moment and get it out of the way. Six years ago (when I was promoting my first book), I worked with a cocky little shit by the name of Bryan Staebell. I was his boss at a job I was trying to get fired at, so we went to the bar after work (and during work occasionally) numerous times and we talked about my self published monster at the time, Soup To Nuts. This kid was convinced that he could do everything better than anyone, so he read the manuscript and told me that he was going to write a better book and that more people were going to buy it than mine. He told me that my book was garbage, and that I should’ve called it ’Big Words I Know By Heart’. I laughed and told him that was clever, and that sure, his book was going to sell more. Let’s see you make it, I said.

Shortly after that (circa 2001), I started a crude email newsletter for my friends and family to get them interested in the book and the local appearances. I wasn’t net savvy enough at the time to blind copy everyone’s email addresses so that no one poached on them. Bryan gave me money for the book and quit at our place of employment shortly thereafter. I was broke, and forgot about his purchase, so I didn’t or couldn’t get the book to him. Events were sketchy at the time.

Somebody emailed me with the AOL screen name of ’IHateTomWaters’ and emailed the rest of my friends as well. I thought it was the best friend I had a falling out with over sleeping with his ex. I was wrong. It took me a year and a half to figure out (through net research and otherwise) that it was none other than Bryan Staebell. I was good and pissed. So when I figured that out, I also put in some overtime to find out that he was trying to write horror fiction under the preposterous pseudonym of Poecraft. I visited all the message boards and gave away his real identity. He was shut down everywhere within weeks for his improper behavior online and I haven’t seen his stories since. He only wrote two pieces of flash fiction. Some goddamned book.

Bryan still lives in Buffalo and after that, I named all of my official fan goings on under the catch all banner of ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’. I really hope that’s a thorn in his ass. It was a good title for something, and it’s probably the only good idea he’ll ever have. This is the only time I’ve used, taken or gone with another person’s idea. Normally I refuse to accept other people’s suggestions, but I made an exception for this asshole. Moving on…

December of 2006. My blog site was acting buggy so I had to move it and transplant my audience over to the new location, which is never easy. After reaching 10,000 hits at the original, I had to start all over again. After having a short rant appear in The Buffalo News, one of their peripheral reps contacted me with an interesting proposition. A faction of The Buffalo News was splitting their web site (Buffalo.com) and starting a new community site that was picture and blog based. They wanted me to head the charge along with a hand picked selection of two or three other writers. I chomped at the bit. The name of the site was YourHub, and I thought it would make a good in to get some more work into the News. I was right.

Rather than move my readers to a third new site, I gave it a different theme and context. I called it ‘Big Buffalo I Know By Heart’, under the auspices that it would be a PG rated version of my other site with more of a focus on my social life and laden with pictures of my comings and goings. To date, I’ve had almost a thousand hits on the site and the hits keep coming now that it’s gone public since March and the News is dumping millions into marketing and advertising. In my old age, I’ve learned that it’s best not to put all your eggs into one basket. The weekly column kept chugging along and some time before Christmas I completed my fifth book, Slapstick & Superego, in record time. In three months, I’d written a hundred and fifty pages of just essays, which is something I’ve never done before. And I was still writing. In the past, it took a book promotion to get the old creative juices flowing again. There was no published book in sight and I was still chugging along.

With 2007 upon us I was tying up loose ends for my book launch in April for If They Can’t Take A Joke. Somewhere along the line I schmoozed my way into Buffalo Spree, a national magazine, to write interviews, book reviews and other freelance work. And then I elbowed my way into The Buffalo News and started writing bar reviews for them. I was learning how to really network. That, or I’m finally old enough and I’ve been around enough that the industry fossils are taking me seriously for a change.

In February, after deciding to hang up my hat as a bar reviewer for Night Life magazine, I thought about compiling some of the best reviews and putting them together myself in paperback form. I had a web site I put together as a joke actually selling t shirts, thongs and doggy kilts with my book covers and personal pictures that was making money. The site had a book option. I took everything I had in my reviews folder and taught myself PDF over the course of a weekend. This is how Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish was born. It’s sold over 130 copies by hand in less than two months. I wanted to try an experiment to see if the smaller projects would make money if I self published them through an at cost site. It worked.

My poetry collection split in half and I kept giving away poems on my sites to start drumming up interest for a 2008 simultaneous release. An older poem about an ex girlfriend who’s a d.j. caught her attention and she threatened me with a lawsuit. Knowing what I can and can’t get away with, I copied her childish ravings and posted them on the web site. I kept the poem up and her tantrum drove another five or six hundred unique hits to the new Big Words site. Pity for her.

I’m four weeks away from the official book launch for If They Can’t Take A Joke and I couldn’t be positioned any better for success. My weekly column in print is going into its 16th week and I’m not even going to consider the prospect of stopping until it hit’s the year mark, if that. The new web site is rounding out to 2,000 unique hits and averages about fifty visitors a day. Acid Logic, a web site I’ve been contributing to faithfully since 2002, is still drawing new and unusual readers from across the globe to check out my work. I’m about sixty pages into the essay collection AFTER the next essay collection and both poetry volumes are rounding at about seventy percent completion. I’ve got high quality glossy posters up all over town with both book covers and the dates for my appearances at least four weeks in advance. Sometimes it takes five years of making mistakes to learn how to do things the right way when it comes to promotion. I guess I’ll find out this April.

Optioning the action figures through George Lucas,

Tom ’Big Words I Know By Heart’ Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 16 on stands, T-minus FOUR WEEKS To ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke Launch!

March 5, 2007

It’s a new month which means I’m running some different material in the Night Life print version of ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ after February’s month full of driving related rants.  As most of you have already read, this week’s essay is ‘Predators & Editors’, my Myspace rant.  I omitted a certain line about you know who just to play things safe, as print laws are a bit trickier and I’d rather not drag Night Life into the crossfire, but the rest of the rant is intact.  If you haven’t read it yet, make sure to pick it up on stands across Buffalo and Toronto this week. 

     I also wrote two brand spanking new columns this month in anticipation of the ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish’ launch at the Hidden Shamrock (next week) and the big launch for ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ (April Fool’s Day, but the column is running the Monday beforehand), so tune in to the newstands for those.  They’re more of a rallying cry and a testament to shameless promotion than commentary, but I tried to make them entertaining. 

     As for ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’, we are getting into the end zone.  By my estimations, Author House should have a copy in my hands in two to three weeks, which means you should be able to preorder within the next two weeks.  Keep checking back at:

www.authorhouse.com

-for current updates as they arise.   Again, I make more royalties if you buy the book off of their web site as opposed to Amazon or the other online retailers, so help a brother out! 

That’s all I’ve got for you this Monday.  I’ll be spending a lot of my free time this week seeing Zodiac again in theaters and getting posters out to the venues that are four weeks away or less, so keep your eyes out throughout the Buffalo/Niagara region for flyers with my big ugly mug!  Thanks,

Tom Waters

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Zodiac arrives, Rooftop Poetry Club slaps up a profile for Yours Truly…

March 4, 2007

     I was so pumped to see David Fincher’s new film ‘Zodiac’ yesterday that I took the day off from work and went to one of the first shows of the day before noon.  Clocking in at over two and a half hours, it’s not for everyone, and I hope that viewers won’t walk into the movie hoping for another ‘SE7EN’, because there are very few comparisons.  For film buffs, though, ‘Zodiac’ is a masterpiece.  Some have called it Fincher’s homage to ‘All The President’s Men’ (one of Finch’s all time favorites), others have called it Fincher’s JFK, but I think it’s the first in a new era of films for the director who doesn’t have to prove a goddamned thing to anyone anymore; not the critics, not the studios, and certainly not to the viewer.  He is telling a gripping and fascinating real life story at his own pace that is captivating and enthralling and spellbinding all at once.  I heard a few people bitching about the running time on the way out, and that’s tough nooky for them.  Titanic was a goddamned fifteen hour movie that I still refuse to watch.  If you know anything about great directors or great movies you’ll check it out.  I plan on seeing it four or five more times during it’s theater run and the last film I saw in theaters was ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’.  I knew my Bret Easton Ellis critique was done when I reached a point in my research where I was physically sick of reading about him and felt like I knew the man back to front.  It’s going to be a little while before I get there with Finch.  I’m in no hurry to finish this bio but I expect to wrap it up some time around year’s end. 

     And a short note about Buffalo State College’s Rooftop Poetry Society appearance in April.  They’ve made me a member of their club (thanks to my alumni status) and were kind enough to throw a profile up on their site with a pic, a bio, a rant and two poems.  I almost feel legitimized!  Collegiate, even!  Heavens to mergatroids!  Check it out at the link below:

 http://www.buffalostate.edu/library/rooftop/members/waters.htm

      In case you weren’t sure, the Buffalo State appearance in April is open to the public as well as the students and faculty, so all are invited to attend.  Scroll down to my April calendar for more details.  I also buttoned up two library appearances in April and May along with another concert in May at Club W downtown on Delaware near Chippewa and a double bill with poet Carrie Spadter at Cafe Caz somewhere in South Buffalo.  I’d give you the dates but I might as well amend the appearance calendar in a few week’s time once I feel like I’ve hit a satisfactory amount of publicity events.  That’s all for now.   Talk to you Monday,

Tom Waters 

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‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ Book Launch update: Sansone’s out, Bly’s in

March 3, 2007

     Due to circumstances beyond both our control, Gregg Sansone will be unable to perform at my book launch at Desiderio’s on April Fool’s Day for my April Foolfest.  However, Michael Bly was kind enough and is willing enough to headline the show, which is fantastic news!  I couldn’t think of a better eleventh hour clutch replacement and honestly, Bly was my first round pick after Sansone informed me that he was unable to attend.  No hard feelings all around, but as Jay Desiderio loves to say, ‘The Show Must Go On’, so as it stands, in four weeks, I will be opening with a rant followed by a full concert from Michael Bly, Green Room and Lana and Hund.  Eat your Wheaties that morning because you are not going to want to miss one second of this star studded extravaganza!

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‘Out Of The Cradle And Onto The Couch’ Sees Print in The Buffalo News My View

February 28, 2007

     Even though I’m never informed as to when one of my ‘My View’ submissions is going to see print, I should have known yesterday.  Some psychopath called my house asking for the definition of ‘trytophan coma’ as if I’m Fred The Definition Guy.  Go look it up in the dictionary, you jackass!  Do you think I sit around the house waiting to have my privacy violated?  Well I don’t.  I went to Desiderio’s last night to drop off posters for the ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ book launch on April Fool’s Day and Bob (one of the servers at Desi’s) told me that he saw me in the paper, so, being neurotic, I ran directly over to Wilson Farms and picked up a copy of the daily Buffalo News.  Sure enough, ‘Out Of The Cradle And Onto The Couch’  (from next year’s collection, Slapstick & Superego) was in the Opinion section of Tuesday’s paper under the title ‘Nothing Like A Nap To Restore Some Pep’.  To view the edited article online, click here:

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20070227/1062891.asp 

This could be a legendary week, because if the Ripley interview runs in ArtVoice and the Mazariello’s review runs in Gusto, I’ll have four published articles in Buffalo in one calendar week.  I’ve had trifectas before, but pick fours?  It’s never happened.  Keep your fingers crossed and your eyes on the papers…

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 15 on Stands, Go for the Gusto!

February 26, 2007

Here it is a Monday again which means that the new print issue of Night Life is out in Buffalo and Toronto with the final driving rant of the month, ‘A New Lease On Life’, about my former piece of shit ’93 Buick.  Last week’s essay, ‘Chia Chick’, was an exerpt from Born Pissed, so if you missed it and you want to read it, you’ll just have to buy my book. 

     I’ve been tremendously busy locking down more great appearance dates for the month of April, so I haven’t had much spare time to do anything else.  This Friday, I will post an almost complete list for any and all April appearances for the launch of my fourth humor collection, If They Can’t Take A Joke (coming out in hardcover and paperback).  I’m VERY pleased to announce that I will be appearing at at least one FYE (Hamburg) the day before Easter and I’ve been asked to appear at Buffalo State College for their Rooftop Poetry Club monthly meeting.  As a former student at Buffalo State College, it will be an honor to return in a different capacity: as an accomplished author.  There are a lot of other great appearances that month and you will get the full rundown this Friday, once we’re a calendar month away from the beginning of the hoopla.

     As for the Gusto ‘Club Watch’ reviews, my spidey sense is tingling.  I wrote a review on Shogun over the weekend and it sounds to me like the Mazariello’s review will be in either this week or next.  If all goes well, the ArtVoice interview with Alycia Ripley will hit this Thursday and we’ll have my first published Buffalo trifecta in over a year!  This is a rare occurance, so keep your fingers crossed and your eyes open this week.  We are also now three weeks away from the soft release of If They Can’t Take A Joke, so prepare for preorders.  I’ll let you know the second that I know.  I am completely shot from the weekend so I will leave you with that.  Talk to you all next Monday or sooner,

 Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 14 on stands, Uncle Hal Return On Wednesday

February 20, 2007

Yep, its Monday for realsies this week and that means the new print issue of Night Life magazine is out with week 14 of the Big Words I Know By Heart print column.  If you missed out on yesterday’s melodrama, though, make sure to scroll down to the last post so that you’re up to date.  Now that the first two driving pieces are out of the way (‘Morning Traffic Retort’ and the two part ‘Cool Hand Highway Superintendant’, respectively), I slipped in a slightly tardy reprint of a Valentine’s rant against relationships (‘Chia Chick’ from Born Pissed).  It’s a fan favorite from the readings and I couldn’t go through February in good conscience without it.  Out of the kindness of my heart (and because its an excerpt from ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’, which is due out in FOUR WEEKS!), I’m reprinting the full version of ‘Cool Hand Highway Superintendant’ right here!  My editors chose to cut all the f bombs, so here it is in all of it’s f-ing uncut glory!  The second my publisher puts ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ up for pre-order (in hardcover and trade paperback) you’ll all be the first to know, so stay tuned to the site for late breaking updates as they occur.  And before I forget, I’ve been asked to come back to do the Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal podcast show by popular demand and loathing, so I’ll be going back into the studio this Wednesday.  The episode should be up by this time next Monday, so stay tuned to www.powunclehal.com

Cool Hand Highway Superintendant

People in Buffalo drive like fucking morons. You may think you don’t apply but if you live in Buffalo and you own a car, you too drive like a fucking moron. Until last year, I always operated on the belief that motorists the world over were inconsiderate, ill-educated, short-tempered jack-asses behind the wheel. Then I took a trip out of state. It didn’t really hit me that people obeyed most traffic laws and paid attention to neighboring drivers until I got within five minutes of the Buffalo city limits coming back into town on the thruway. And once again, I was surrounded by assholes. Cutting each other off, driving twenty five miles over the speed limit and coming to a screeching halt before making a turn and taking up a third of the lane to the left of them because they spent a half an hour shuffling through paperwork in the passenger seat. Oh, if you find strong language offensive, you might want to skip this one.

The catch 22 is this: The older I get the less tolerant I am of traffic, but I have to put up with more traffic the older I get. As a partially responsible adult, I’m on the roads more often. Appointments, errands and shopping. I have a one hour commute to work. One way. And unfortunately, this time, I am not exaggerating. I drive from the suburbs to downtown Buffalo five times a week. And if most buffalonions are assholes, the large anus in the middle is downtown Buffalo. That’s when mad max driving rules take effect. Half of the people downtown don’t even have insurance on their cars. The other half are drunk, stoned, or a combination thereof. And obviously, none of the vehicles sold at dealerships downtown come with a standard turning signal. Nobody uses their fucking turning signal and they change lanes every fifteen seconds.

As a regular commuter, I drive five miles over the speed limit. Ten if I can get away with it and I know it’s not a cop heavy area. I’m always trying to shave some time off of my morning drive. I drive from nine to five in unison with the rest of the fucking assholes in the world and the same people who tailgate me at sixty miles per hour in the morning are the ones taking a leisurely cruise at five fifteen at night to the tune of fifteen miles an hour in a forty five. This infuriates me. My blood pressure is going to elevate so high some day that my head just pops off out of the sun roof in one gigantic blood clot. If you see a fountain of blood spraying out of the top of a Honda Accord some day, you’ll know that some goddamned idiot has finally pissed me off to the ultimate boiling point and my head’s exploded.

And tailgaters can suck diseased Ebola cocks in hell. It is the rudest driving habit in existence and it causes more accidents than any one of the five billion retarded driving habits out there. Don’t fucking tailgate, because I’m reducing that curve one asshole at a time. Let me teach you a little trick: Flip your central rearview mirror up. That’s what that toggle is for. Then you’ll be less likely to cave in to one of these insipid fucking adrenalin junkies who feels so compelled to beat the rest of the waking world to the red light ten feet from the both of you.

I couldn’t even tell you what goes on behind me half the time, and if I have to look back, it means I’m slowing down. What makes you so goddamned important that you need to get to where you’re going that much faster than everyone else? And if you are that important, how come you don’t have a police escort, douche bag? If I had more money and a better insurance rating, I’d start yanking my hand brake every time somebody tried to ride up into my ass on the road, but instead, I go at least five miles under the speed limit and dangle a cigarette out the window while I’m looking in my driver side mirror.

My friends make fun of me for doing the shoulder turn. Before making any sort of turn, I turn half way around in my seat and look behind me. I don’t trust any of the mirrors in my car. I don’t slow down for it and no damage is done as a result, but it’s a habit I got from one of my parents and I don’t know which. It’s hereditary. I also get my constant one way dialogues with people outside the car from my mother. I hold half hour conversations with people in traffic and they’re most likely completely oblivious to them:

“Good job, speed racer! You really showed me by passing so you could hit that red light five feet in front of me. Where did you go? Oh, that’s right, you hit the afterburners and now you’re racing along the horizon! All I can see from where I‘m driving is a trail of flames! You really showed me, Michael J. Fox! You must be in the year 1985 by now! Go back, visit yourself at that age, and tell yourself not to drive like a fuck-stick!”

“Drop dead, you worthless fuck! Drop fucking dead! I’m looking forward to seeing half of you on one side of the road and the other half under the wheel well of a mack truck fifteen minutes from now, jackass! I’m going to hunt you down, burn your house down, piss on the ashes and then run over the ashes with my car. I’m going to find your children and burn them down and find their friends and burn them down, too! Eat my shit!”

…and so forth. It’s no good bottling up these feelings or saving them for when I get home or finally get to work. Some days I come home from work with a thousand yard stare and my girlfriend wonders what’s wrong with me. I give her two syllables. Traffic. This fucking traffic that drains my sanity and gets worse with every passing year. Exponentially worse. Every year more punk ass kids turn sixteen and watch “The Fast and The Furious”. Every year another legion of soccer mom buys a minivan with a DVD player and shits out three more kids to drive all over hell’s half acre. Ever year a handful of fifty something men go just bald enough or just impotent enough or a combination of both that they’re compelled to fortify the stereotype and buy a loud, tiny European sports car. I hate all of these people with a fucking passion, and the world would be a better place without any of them on the road.

With no relief to me whatsoever (quite the opposite) it’s officially summer time. All the candy asses are out of school tooling about with mommy’s nicest SUV. I’m sure your parents would be pleased to know that you’re shattering your eardrums listening to Tupac with their bass woofers carting the entire neighborhood full of young degenerates to Hot Topic to buy trendy clothing. You really look like you’re big pimpin’ it with your Detroit Lean in dad’s ‘92 Hatchback. Assholes! Once upon a time, kids walked around outside in the summer. They exercised, they played, they…stayed off the fucking road most of the time. I hated teenagers when I was one. I was a self hating teenager. Now I hate them even more.

When Howard Stern ran for Governor his main platform was that he was going to legislate that all road construction be performed at night. This was brilliant, and I wish he was elected for that alone. There’s never a good time for road construction, but summer is one of the least reasonable time frames for it. There are more people on the road and any construction between the hours of nine to five is patently ridiculous. I’ve got enough of a fucking obstacle course going to and from work every day. I’ve got a million other aggravations in my life and that’s one more that I don’t need.

Tear up a side road for three months and steal my tax dollars with your incompetence and inefficiency. Don’t assign twenty guys to a ten foot stretch of main highway to set down cones and eat lunch while they watch the reduced lane of traffic go slowly insane with me in it. I know they’re just doing their jobs. Poorly. I know it’s tough to send in enough box tops to get a GED and make thirty five dollars an hour to show off your ass crack to oncoming traffic and catch a tan. I feel for road construction workers, I really do. No I don’t. Bring back the chain gangs. Sadly, convicts probably have a better work ethic. Put five guys on a road with one guard. If a motorist is driving in a truly annoying manner they can jack the car and scrap the parts for all I care.

Everyone driving a minivan has something to prove. I’ve noticed this with increasing reinforcement in the last couple of months. Why buy a fast car when you can get a big outdated off white piece of shit to show off your poor driving skills to the community? Cut people off in style with a maroon mini van with a sliding door and fifty wailing fucking brats inside of it. Late for soccer practice? Why not swerve around the road and juggle some drink boxes in one hand while you’re holding the steering wheel with the other! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: real men don’t drive minivans. And they know it. They still drive like Steve McQueen in a sad attempt to prove to everyone that their nut sac is not at home next to the tub of fudge that their wife is eating while watching Oprah. Fuck you, soccer dad. You’re not a man and you have no penis and even if you did you still wouldn’t be able to drive because at heart you are fundamentally a useless asshole.

If every SUV in the world took a turn at exactly the right velocity, flipped, rolled and blew up, it still wouldn’t be enough. If everyone who’s ever driven an SUV dropped dead of a massive coronary, I wouldn’t be satisfied. SUVs are the new black plague. They guzzle countless gallons of gas, they look almost as ugly as the PT Cruiser (who designed that goddamn monstrosity?) and they are specifically sold to fucking assholes. If it’s snowing, they drive around like the master mountaneer in the commercial and end up sideways on a culvert five miles down the road. They deserve it. SUVs cannot climb walls like the bat mobile or bite into the dirt on the shoulder of the expressway when you’re passing on the outside, Earnhardt. There’s a reason Dale Earnhardt is dead. Keep driving like him in a sports utility vehicle in you’ll be joining him.

If you’re fat, bald, old or once again, impotent, buck the trend and don’t buy a sports car. Yes, you’re a doctor or a lawyer or somebody really important but I don’t need to see your blindingly bald head tooling down the highway with the top down. It’s not going to get you laid. And a red baseball cap doesn’t hide the comb over, fuck face. People will still notice that you’re bald, or packing a Vienna sausage downstairs, so what’s the point? Yes, the car goes really fast and yes, I’m sure it’s very expensive, but I’d rather be me. Hung like a donkey in heat. I will always have a larger penis than you and no car will change that. I’m still younger than you and have a full head of shiny, luxurious hair. I drive a really nice car. Not amazing and not sixty thousand dollars, but it’s very nice. I’d be jealous of Beamers and Lexus’ and Corvettes but I’m not because I know that the Proctologists, Personal Injury Attorneys and five time divorcees are buying and driving them to hide something. And they’re driving them poorly, at that.

The price of gas has become criminal and odds are that the sickening amount of petroleum that SUVs go through has contributed to that. I had to co-sign the last time I filled up my tank. A gallon of milk hasn’t changed much and I’d rather not burn my house down with a wind up electric car that goes fifteen miles an hour top end or one of those fruity liberal hybrids. I just wish the price would go down. I got a raise for moving to another location and it’s going straight into my gas tank and after reading this I’m sure you can tell that I’m not much of a ‘people person’ so car pooling is not an option.

Whew! I think everyone’s been covered. Nervous breakdown averted. All systems normal. The only thing I can do to combat this traffic business is stay off the road. Shut myself in on days off or drive on the off hours. It’s irregular but it helps. I don’t avoid going out in my spare time, but if I do, I take side roads at odd hours. Nine and five are guaranteed to piss me off, so I stay away from them. If I were smart, I’d move out of buffalo and the odds of fucking idiots behind the wheel are greatly reduced. But I love my town. I just hate the fucking people in it, is all. Especially when they’re behind the wheel. And in front of me. Or directly behind me and up my ass. Or on the side of me, blasting fifty cents in mommy’s hatchback or whatever that guy’s name is. Two bits. I think that’s it. In Germany they take your license away for life after a DWI. I wish they’d do that with any ticket in my town. My blood pressure would go down by sixty points by this time next year.

Driving along in my automobile,

Tom ‘McQueen’ Waters

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St. Peter’s Waiting Room

February 16, 2007

For the duration of my trip, I wrote a daily travelogue about my time in Frostproof, Florida.  It’s called (you guessed it) ‘St. Peter’s Waiting Room’, and it clocked in at a hefty 13 pages, pushing ‘Crass Menagerie’s (the next book after the next book) limits up to 44 pages without even blinking.  It’s one of only three or four travelogues that I’ve written over the years, and I feel that its a real quantum leap in terms of style and content over ‘Viva Las Thomas’ (from ‘Slapstick & Superego’).  As opposed to its predecessors, I employed subtitles for each day ala Hunter S. Thompson, with catch-all names.  Early indications show that people really enjoy it, so I may try and release it episodically through the print column in March or April if I can pare it down a bit.  Its been difficult to get back into my prior routine of working and writing constantly since I came back, but after thirteen pages, I really don’t need to for a week or two.  The muse has been fed, so I guess I can rest for the time being, and ‘Crass Menagerie’ is looking like it’ll be a very large book indeed at the rate I’m writing it.  The book is still over two years away and my personal deadline for finishing it is another thirteen months.  I’ve never been this far ahead of schedule before and it’s very liberating creatively. 

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Monday Update On Tuesday! Week 13 on Stands, Leaving Florida

February 13, 2007

     Sorry to be tardy to the party, here, but I’ve been away from my lightning fast high speed internet in Buffalo and working on my father’s dial up dinosaur.  That, and I’ve been on vacation in central Florida with family and spent the majority of my Monday shopping at two different mega flea markets that make Buffalo flea markets look, well, flea like. 

I don’t need to be in Buffalo to tell you that the new issue of Night Life is on stands with part two of my driving opus, ‘Cool Hand Highway Superintendent’ in my Big Words I Know By Heart print column.  I’ve been working on a travelogue from the trip and it’s clocking in around thirteen pages.  Just because I’m on vacation doesn’t mean I can’t get a little work done.  I get back into town later tonight (tues.) and should have a mountain of sunny green pictures posted up my yourhub site by late Wednesday morning at the latest, providing that we don’t get another lightning round of flight delays.  Agh!  I didn’t just say that!  Knock on wood!  Knock on wood!  Anyhow, I’ll post more when I’m back at home base and working on my computer.  In the mean time, strap on your snow shoes and your muck lucks and grab the new Night Life, palookas!

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Monday Update! Week 12 on Stands, Week 11 Right Here, Tom Does Florida!

February 5, 2007

So anyways,

Monday has arrived and the new print issue of ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ is out in the new issue of Night Life magazine.  Continuing with a my February triple shot of driving aggravation you’ll find Part One in my two part ranting rampage, ‘Cool Hand Highway Superintendent’ from ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’.  No one will be left unscathed by the time they’re done reading it as I attack just about every single person behind the wheel in Buffalo in this one, so scoop it off the stands!  Since I wrote last week’s column, ‘Morning Traffic Retort’ with the print column in mind, I’m reprinting it here for your enjoyment.  For various legal reasons, Night Life never runs my frequently peppered F-Bombs.  On the Big Words sight, I can drop the F-Bomb with abandon, so fucking enjoy it! 

Also, I’ll be leaving for Florida this Wednesday to spend a week with my parents, who have a home down there.  If you subscribe to the free bi-monthly email newsletter, I’ll be sending it out earlier in the week than usual.  If you don’t subscribe, feel free to email me at:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

-with ‘subscribe’ in the subject heading.  I generally premier a lot of stuff there long before anyone else sees it, so find out what you’ve been missing out on! 

This’ll be my first time in Florida so I’m really looking forward to getting the hell away from this freezing goddamned weather.  Have a great week and a half in the arctic tundra, suckers!  Sincerely,

Tom Waters

Morning Traffic Retort

The major roadways in this town are an abomination. I don’t know much about town procedures, department of transportation bi-laws or anything else, but something needs to be done. The Kensington expressway, Walden Avenue, Genesee St., Sheridan Drive and Main Street are a fucking catastrophe from the hours of 7-9 am and 4-7 pm. Like most Buffalonians, I live in the suburbs and commute downtown for work. It takes me an hour to get downtown when it should take twenty minutes thanks in large part to congestion, road construction, poor driving, closed off lanes and other bureaucratic nightmares that could be easily provided if anything got done properly, intelligently or efficiently. If road workers weren’t union employees who sat around on their ass, collected a paycheck, waved flags and took their sweet time getting the job done, everyone’s commute would be a lot easier.

Half the reason why people drive like such douche-tools in the city is due to the fact that we need more lanes. The roads are outdated, overcrowded and just plain aggravating to navigate. Instead of ripping up the same stretch of Genesee leading onto the Expressway, wouldn’t it be a brighter move to widen and multiply lanes so that we’re not wearing them down at the same interval? I’m getting exceedingly sick of seeing the never-ending road construction in progress on Genesee at all times. It’s inconvenient and unacceptable. The city is growing in population and we have a number of major universities that students commute from off-campus to. There’s no reason why Genesee shouldn’t have three or possibly four lanes of traffic especially when you consider that the Buffalo Airport is smack dab in the middle of this monstrosity.

When school is in session at Buffalo State and Medaille, I’ll often skip the Kensington altogether and like a lot of other people, I’ll take Sheridan Drive back to the suburbs. This is also a train wreck under sluggish construction. It shouldn’t take six months to get any stretch of pavement done and we’d all be better served if it the work was performed at night when traffic volume is down. God forbid that people making a minimum of fourteen dollars an hour have to make a lifestyle adjustment for a contract paying job, but that’s the best solution. The situation as it stands is retarded. The stretch of Sheridan from Harlem all the way to Youngs Rd. is a fucking mess, and I’m sick of tooling along bumper to bumper because this city can’t have the foresight and good sense to plan ahead.

And don’t tell me that there’s no room in the budget! For a city that ranks among the highest in state, local, property and school taxes, you’re losing on all counts of that argument, you nepotistic fucks. Cut a nephew, a brother in law’s or a intern/steady bang’s salary for one year and throw it into the pavement. I’m good friends with numerous people who turn a profit in the paving business and they’ve covered a lot more black top in a much smaller amount of time and they’ve done it to the degree that it doesn’t have to be redone every single calendar-buggering year. There is no logical excuse you can give me for this mind-roasting cluster-fuck we also sometimes refer to as a road-way. It’s only going to get worse with the winter weather and then we’ve got crater-sized pot holes that take eons to get fixed. Do your jobs and do them faster. I am telling you how to do your job because you’re doing it wrong and you’re doing it piss-poorly. When the majority of our populace lives in one place and works on the polar opposite of the city, conditions need to improve. This might be one of the reasons why college graduates smarten up and then get the hell out of town, because they don’t want to have to deal with the completely avoidable psychotic-inducing condition of the traffic congestion. Sure, there are stupid drivers who do stupid things in the morning because they’re not awake who get into accidents and even stupider people slow down to check out the bloodbath and gum up the whole works, but that’s a small fraction of the big picture. Fix our roads yesterday. Maybe if people can get around faster than the speed of paint drying they’ll actually be able to drive into the city, buy houses, support local events and increase revenue and tourism. As it stands, we’re screwed, and this is another reason not to live, work, consume, our support the city. The dozers from Fraggle Rock make a better think tank than the fly-by-night construction clowns we have working now. Figure it out.

One of the legions of drive time road ragers,

Tom ’assault due to commute’ Waters

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The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal Guest Appearance on Episode 21 is up! Click on the link RIGHT NOW!

January 31, 2007

     The title of this post says it all.  Again, if you enjoy my rants, you do not want to miss this show.  Hal and I were completely off the reservation on this show and if you follow the link, episode 21 will start playing straightaway.  The episode runs 112 minutes or so and Hal put me on last, (‘I like to save the best for last, he told me’).  I love the site, I love the show, and I plan on being back on the show repeatedly until one of us gets lynched.  Click on over to:

 http://www.powunclehal.blogspot.com/

      Make sure to check the sidebar on Hal’s site to call in and leave comments, too.  ALL phone calls and comments are aired directly on the show, so show some love!

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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…

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Brian Kahle & Uncle Hal Wrapup

January 25, 2007

Another busy day down!

I got up at seven this morning, picked fellow Just Buffalo Anthology co-editor Alycia Ripley at 10:30 A.M., we drove out to Lockport for the Kahle & Co. show on WLVL, and I drove Ripley back to her palatial estate in Clarence Center.  Alycia’s mom was kind enough to make me a ham sandwich with dijon mustard after going without something to eat all morning but coffee and soda.  2 pm rolled around and I was off to the Uncle Hal studios out in Amherst/Snyder for a rousing half hour episode for the widely popular national podcast, ‘The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal’.  Hal wound me up and set me loose and if you’re a fan of my work, you REALLY need to hear this episode.  I went off ad lib for a full half hour on etiquette, common courtesy, and the state of gaming industry enthusiasts.   Hal bumped his other commitments this week and liked the interview so much that he assures me he’s putting it on THIS week’s show by Friday, so check his site and check often at:

 www.powunclehal.com

Again, you are NOT going to want to miss out on the show because it is gold.  Normally, I’d be really upset that I couldn’t read a selection but the alternative was fantastic.  We’ve got great chemistry so the show was a hit.  I can’t say enough about this podcast.  Click on the site and listen because you are going to love it! 

     I’m also posting ALL of the pictures taken today up on the yourhub site, so scroll down to the bottom here and click on the yourhub link.  Take a ride on the superinformation highway, baby!

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If They Can’t Take A Joke Update

January 24, 2007

After speaking with Trafford yesterday, it sounds like the trade paperback should be ready by April Fool’s Day but the hardcover is not going to make it on time.  This was a compromise that I recommended rather than having no book to sell when I go on my flurry of promotions, radio spots and other appearances throughout the month of April.  Most (if not all) publishers have a silly clause where they need you to ‘sign off’ on your galley saying that you approve of the overall image and that all errors have been corrected.  I realize that there will be a few errors, and I’m fine with that.  Unlike most writers, I read every essay the second I’m done with it and proof read for errors.  After that, I don’t ever want to see it again unless I’m reading it live and I’d rather invest my time writing new material.  Also unlike other writers, I’m too busy writing books to waste a year of my life waffling around and tweaking the overall look and content of my book.  ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ is done.  It’s been done for almost a year and a half now, and I’d prefer to get it out as soon as possible before the material in ‘Slapstick & Superego’ starts to get dated.  At least this way, people can pick up the trade in April and if they really want a hardcover they can buy that when it comes out later.  The profit margins are always higher on a trade paperback so it just makes good business sense.  And we’re going ahead with the original cover with the clown nose and I chose an out take with the red dot on my forehead for the back cover, so the book will have an almost mirror effect on both sides.  There’s also a pretty good chance that I’ll be selling my first and smaller collection of rhyming poetry, ‘Breathing Room: Attic-rhymes & relics’ along with ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’.  To do this, though, I’m going to need to come up with another eighty or so pages of rhyming poetry in the next two months.  I’m shooting for a slimmer, 130-150 page paperback for the poetry collection in a smaller format through Cafe Press.  The last two days have been tremendously stressful as far as all of the projects are concerned so I’ll be down for the count for a while recharging my batteries so that I’m fresh as a daisy for the book launch(es).  That is, of course, after the two radio interviews I’m appearing for today.  It NEVER ends! 

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Monday Update: Week 10 on Stands, Week 9 in ‘Slapstick & Superego’

January 23, 2007

Whelp, it’s Monday again, which means that the newest print installment of ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ is on stands in the newest edition of Night Life magazine along with a print ad for ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars’!  In case you didn’t know, I’ll be appearing at The Hidden Shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day on Transit Rd. in Depew from 6 p.m. to 12 p.m. to promote the book with copies on hand to sell and sign along with drink specials and music from the band Busted Stuff, so mark your calendar and I’ll see you there!

     This week’s column (#10) features ‘Charlie And The Asshead Factory’, the final rant in ‘If They Can’t Take a Joke’ about the agony of seeing movies in public with the public.  Last week’s essay, ‘Bizarro Acrophobia’ (about the benefits of being a tall man) is the first essay in next year’s humor collection, ‘Slapstick & Superego’, so if you didn’t grab it on stands, you’ve got a long wait ahead of you.

     I’m beginning to have mounting aggravations with publisher Trafford on their end regarding the publication of my next book, ‘If They Can’t Take a Joke’.  After jumping through more hoops than I’ve ever had to deal with with any of my publishers, they’re telling me that it may not be ready by April 1st.  I informed them that if they couldn’t have it ready that I’d be taking it to a publisher who could, so hopefully, they got the message.  One way or the other, this goddamned book will be done by April Fool’s Day.  There are too many things in place to see that date slip…

     I also found out today that my bar review on Mazariello’s will be appearing in a little daily newspaper you might know as THE BUFFALO NEWS!  That’s right, it’s finally happened and I can finally talk about it.  I’m going to be writing club and bar reviews on an ongoing basis for The Buffalo News Gusto section, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for that.  I had to tone down any number of themes and content and strip the size of my bar reviews down for a more journalistic feel, but the exercise is refreshing and it does help me get back to my journalistic roots.  Plus they pay, and money is always nice.  Look at this as the first auction in a long succession of selling out.  And speaking of, my interview with local rocker Gregg Sansonne is going to be appearing in an issue of Buffalo Spree magazine sometime this year (either next issue in April or the one after that).  They also pay.  Money is good, and I like it.

     By this point, most (if not all) local publications are running the Call For Submissions that Alycia Ripley and myself put out for the Just Buffalo anthology, and we’re beginning to see a marked increase in submissions.  This is phenomenal, as it’s raising awareness about local authors and poets and all proceeds will be going directly to the Just Buffalo Literary Center.  A glut of submissions will only ensure that we hand pick the very best prose, fiction and nonfiction for the collection, which is due out sometime in 2008.

     Also, Alycia and I will be appearing this Wednesday at 12:30 AM on the ‘Kahle & Co.’ show on 1340 AM WLVL to promote said anthology along with the rest of our shameless merchandising and self promotion.  Make sure to tune in!  I’ll also be flying in solo to join ‘The Pissed Off World Of Uncle Hal’ for next week’s new podcast.  If you didn’t hear the last show, you should definitely click online over to

 www.powunclehal.com

That should be everything for one week.  Matters look to be in perpetual motion towards success right now, for which I’m grateful.  Make sure to keep up so that you don’t have to take a running start onto the April bandwagon!

Cheers,

Tom Waters

    

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Monday Update Part II: Week 9 on Stands, Week 8 (8 Simple Rules For Doing Something With Your Life) Right Here!

January 16, 2007

I had a chance to grab a print copy of this week’s Night Life today during work on my day off and it looks like I decided to run ‘Bizarro Acrophobia’, the inaugural essay from my upcoming humor collection If They Can’t Take a Joke.  It’s one of my favorite’s about the joys of being a tall man versus guys with Napoleanic complexes, so make sure to grab the print copy if you can.  Below you’ll find ‘8 Simple Rules For Doing Something With Your Life’, an incendiary soap box on how people who get checks on the first of the month can go about getting off their asses and finding a job.  My Time Warner post, in the mean time, has been drawing a lot of traffic, garnering over three dozen unique hits alone in the past two days!  Ha Ha!  Direct TV installed the dish today and I couldn’t be happier.  Just this afternoon I was enjoying the buddy cop goodness of ‘The Hard Way’. Props to the buddy cop films!   Anyhow, enjoy.  ‘8 Simple Rules…’ rounded out the tail end of Slapstick & Superego, which you all won’t see in book format for at least another fourteen months.  Have a great week and I’ll give a shout back to all of you next Monday,

Tom Waters

8 Simple Rules For Doing Something With Your Life

My girlfriend and I went to the reservation to get cigarettes on Sunday (like we do every two weeks after payday) and it was a mob scene. We usually go early in the morning before ten or eleven so we can beat the rush, and there were three cashiers and the line was twenty people deep. I was in a sociable mood, so I asked the cashier, ‘Are people loading up before the Bills game?’ She looked at me with a deep seated disgust and said, ‘Nope. First of the month.’ It’s interesting how the bulk of our unemployed can’t get off their asses to find a job, yet they can drive for an hour and a half on a Sunday morning to pick up smokes. This is what our taxes support, with or without our consent.

I know the job market sucks just a little bit in Buffalo, but c’mon. There are too many two-parent families sitting on the couch, smoking pot, screwing off, or working the system. I went on unemployment once when I was 24 and although I objected to it ethically, I was in a tough spot. It wasn’t the first time I’d been without a job and I had some large bills after getting laid off from a temp job by an evil, soulless cell phone company that rhymes with horizon. As a man, I had a problem with letting someone else pick up my tab even though I’ve been paying into the system since I got my working papers and went to work at a restaurant at the tender age of fourteen. I don’t understand how fathers can coast for years on unemployment not for, but thanks to the children they brought into the world.

And make no mistake, I am not racially profiling here. I’ve seen unemployed people on every end of the rainbow. We went grocery shopping out in Cheektowaga on the first of the month once and it was like a field day. The store looked like a studio audience from the price is right, and if I had a nickel for every tattered flannel shirt and unwashed head of hair, my groceries would have been free that day. I can understand if you get laid off and two-thirds of your union check go a longer way than any help wanted job you can pick up on the fly, but after awhile, it’s time to get on your feet and back into the work force. My main beef is with families who spawn children for the higher tax return and the endless meal ticket. Generations that teach further generations to milk hard working people out of tax dollars that they bleed, sweat and bust their hump over. I know it’s tough to turn the tv off, put on your shoes and look for work, but make an effort. Don’t fill out applications and take references just so you can turn those names in to the department of labor for another dozen paydays. Get off your lazy ass and get a job!

In an effort to do my part for the issue, I’m offering some free advice. I work a full time job, write full time (which pays sometimes), and spend months actively promoting my books when they’re out. A lot of my money has gone into blocks of government cheese. Here, absolutely free of charge, are some handy tools for finding and maintaining active employment in the work force. The only prerequisite is that you’re capable of reading above a fourth grade level. If you’re not, your stupid ass probably hasn’t gotten this far without a brain embolism anyway. Here goes:

1. You Must Leave Your House To Get A Job: While smoking bales of pot, drinking gallons of Red Dog or beating up on your spouse may have it’s charms, you need to exit the door of your home to seek employment. This step is crucial, so you don’t want to miss it. Jobs are often past your driveway and occasionally require you to drive, take the bus or walk a mile or two. I know it’s tough, but give it a shot.

2. Tuck In Your Shirt And Show Up On Time For A Job Interview: It may be acceptable to hang out with your friends in a food-stained t-shirt and jeans from the Clinton administration, but maybe you should find the pair of clothes you wore the last time you were standing up in a courthouse, dust them off, iron them if possible, and put your best foot forward. And it doesn’t hurt to show up within three hours of the designated time that the interview is scheduled. Have you seen that tonged instrument in your bathroom? That’s a comb. If you wave it like a wand through your hair, it will give your prospective employer the impression that you’re groomed. And don’t bring your girlfriend or significant other in with you to hang out while the interview process is taking place. It’s tacky.

3. Try Not To Have A Criminal Record: Sure, that guy looked at you funny in the bar and that dude shouldn’t be throwing it into your ex, but this is known as civilization, so repress the rage and go through life with a modicum of civility. Believe it or not, but prior arrests and restraining orders will make a bit of a ding when someone runs a background check on your Burger King application. They don’t like when you apply for tractor trailer school after jackknifing your Saab off of an expressway after five lines of coke and a fifth of Crown Royal. Shooting or stabbing someone is sometimes frowned upon when a possible boss is considering you as a co-worker. For some reason, people don’t like to be stabbed, and they especially don’t like being stabbed repeatedly. Go figure. Show some restraint and it will show up in your paycheck some day.

4. It’s Easier To Get A Job When You’re Not Repopulating The County: If you keep your pants on for more than 24 hours, you can report to a place of business. If you can master this step, you can get monies to purchase things like condoms, diaphragms and forms of con-tra-cep-tion, or don’t-get-knocked-up stuff. I know your wife or girlfriend looks hot when you’re drunk and she’s battered her face with rouge, but give it a rest. Babies cost money, and it would be nice if it wasn’t my money.

5. If You Get a Job, You Can Live Comfortably For The Entire Month Instead Of The First Seven Days Or When You Piss Up My Money, Whichever Comes First: People who have jobs maintain what’s known as a budget. That’s where they have money, but don’t fritter it away on drive through food, various smokeables, or fancy sneakers. They take some of their money to spend and save the rest in buildings that take care of it and give them more money. These buildings are also known as banks. You can trust them. Sometimes you can get a job with them.

6. Diplomas Are Applauded: If you’re confused with this rule, I apologize. Be it a G.E.D., a community college certificate purchased with box tops, or a business degree from an accredited university, time spent studying something other than videogames, doggy style, or slasher flicks translates into the job market. One of the nice side bonuses of having a diploma is that you can read the Help Wanted section in your local newspaper. It’s not in the Sports section, but every week they advertise jobs that are available for people. Look into it.

7. Crack Cocaine Is Frowned Upon: Although smoking crack is a good way to lose thirty pounds in a month, your teeth, your sanity, virginity in your mouth and buttocks, and your furniture at the nearest pawn shop. It’s what’s known as a conflict of interest if you spend all your time fishing through your carpet looking for crack nuggets instead of a job.

8. You May Have To Get Up Before 12 PM And The Weekend Is, In Actuality, Only Two And A Half Days: Some people who work for a living get up at six, seven, and eight in the morning not because they choose to, but because it’s a part of their job. A good number of interview sessions and job fairs take place at nine and ten a.m. A.M. means in the morning, or after midnight. Something like that. You’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish with your day if you get up before the first block of Jerry Springer. Morning people also drink a beverage quite different from alcoholic and malt beverages referred to as ‘coffee’. It wakes you up when you aren’t naturally used to being up and lends to the physical attributes of being productive. This comes in handy when you have a job. And here’s a multiple choice question for you: The weekend is a)Thursday to Wednesday, b)the beginning of the Sabres game to the end of the NBA playoffs, c)free time you’re allowed after a full work week that may or may not be Monday through Friday, d)Friday night, Saturday and Sunday or e)Time I spent in the holding center until her black eye stopped throbbing and I got bailed out. Pens, pencils and crayons down after five minutes.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Don’t even get me started on the fifteenth of the month, better known as the first of the month, part two. There are a lot of genuinely around-the-bend batshit people drooling, shuffling, raving and placing tinfoil in their homes throughout the Buffalo area, but I’d be willing to be that fifty percent of them are faking it just enough to get a free payday and good psychotropic drugs. Go out and get a frigging job. You just might find some self respect for yourself as a man if you do. It’s certainly not lost in the couch fibers, so after two years, you can get off the couch and call off the search. If I sound jaded, it’s because I’m sick of supporting a bankrupt social system that rewards laziness and senseless reproduction. Long term welfare is for losers. Pass it on.

Enjoying multiple kinds of cheese,

Tom ’pepper jack’ Waters

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January Acid Logic Update: No Wonder Lennon Was A Miserable Prick.

January 5, 2007

The new issue of Acid Logic is up online and Wil ran with ‘No Wonder Lennon Was A Miserable Prick’, (from the fifth collection, Slapstick & Superego) my literary discouragement with widespread ignorance.  If you were on the email newsletter list (subscribe for free by emailing ‘subscribe’ to bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com ) you already read it, but it’s definitely humor in the spleen venting vein.  Wanna read it?  Click on over:

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

      And apparently, my post about Average Joe’s was too controversial to put up on the YourHub site, because the blog dissappeared sometime yesterday and when I got home from work last night, I had a message on my answering machine from one of the founding fathers.  They probably don’t want to get sued or something like that, which I can understand.  I’m not really sure if block is starting to set in or if I’m just exhausted, because I haven’t written a new essay this week and I’m okay with that.  I desperately need a rest, and I’m still trying to figure out how to upload ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ onto my publisher’s site, which is problematic at best.  We’ll figure it out and that book will be in many readers’ greedy little hands come April Fool’s Day.  That seemed like a long time away but it’s coming up on us right quick.  After my editor at Night Life stiffed on getting me the intro for the book when he had an unfathomable twelve month lead time, I don’t feel terribly generous about writing bar reviews for them for the immediate future, so don’t expect to see anything beyond the Big Words print column in the paper for a little while.  The weekend’s upon us and after going to a marathon three hour poetry reading at The Center For Inquiry on Wednesday, I feel like padding out ‘Breathing Room’.  300 pages isn’t going to write itself, you know….

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Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Bars Is Now In Paperback!

December 27, 2006

official-degenerate-cover.jpg 

Okay then,

I had some issues with the original cafe press site, so here’s a second shop address:

http://www.cafepress.com/tomfoolery4

I’ll also throw a permanent link down on the right hand sidebar for this site for future reference and quick click ordering.  Again, this book is an experiment, and if it works, I’ll churn out some other books on the Cafe Press.  If it doesn’t work, no more cheap books, which means I have to take either the traditional publishing route or the print on demand route, which costs you and me more money than it should.  ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ is locked in, but anything else is up in the air.  The fate of my books rests in your hands, folks. 

In the span of a week, I converted ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish: A Cheap Degenerate’s Guide To Buffalo Bars’ into a 5×8 honest to god Perfect Bound paperback!  It’s up on the site right now, so order the new book at an eminently reasonable $13.25 and order in bulk!  That week also gave me the chance to throw in one more bar review on King’s Court and Crocodile Bar’s Christmas Parties last week, and while we’re on the topic, that review is in THIS WEEK’S issue of Night Life.  I thought I missed deadline, but apparently my editor squeeked that one in at the last minute, so it’s on stands right now. 

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Chasing Deadline on ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’

December 24, 2006

This really is the worst possible time of the year to get any extra work done on anything, and here I am going over the layout and page setup for ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ one final and exhausting time to make sure everything is perfect in time for my January 1st deadline with publisher Trafford.  I cannot fucking stand editing, layout and the like.  I was an editor in high school and I have no desire to be an editor ever again.  Trafford assures me that if I have the manuscript to them by the beginning of January that the book will be ready in time for my self imposed launch on April Fool’s Day.  Not only that, but my editor at Night Life, Ed Honeck, has been dragging his heels on the foreword when I told him over a YEAR ago that I needed the intro by the first of the year.  If it was up to me, I wouldn’t promote the book at all, but this one needs a major splash to catapault momentum lasting enough that it spills over into ‘Slapstick & Superego’ next year in ’08.  Between constructing ‘Clean Up After Me, I’m Irish’ and going over ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ again, I don’t even want to look at another book layout for at least six months.  All of these things tie up my time on the computer, invade my free time and cut into time that could be spent writing.  It’s frustrating, but necessary.  I really can’t wait until I get scooped up by a legitimate publishing house so that a) I don’t have to pay for production costs and b)I don’t ever have to worry about layout, copy editing and publicity ever again.  I’m getting too old for this shit.  Hopefully, with the year and a half lead time I have for ‘Slapstick’, I can attempt to send multiple copies of the manuscript out to prospective publishers…

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Monday Update: What’s left to update? Chippewa Night Life/ArtVoice/Gregg Sansone

December 18, 2006

   Week 6 of Night Life magazine is on stands with one hell of a curveball designed to stir up some controversy!  I dropped a serious rant this week about how badly Buffalo needs to address the various problems going on down on Chippewa and the surrounding area.  The owner of the SoHo already lambasted me over the weekend, so I’m expecting some reader mail on this one.  I told him I didn’t do any research on the piece, but after thinking about it, I’ve talked to a great deal of club goers, Buffalo police and bar owners about their experiences down there of late, so I guess I have put in some research time.  My resident graphic designer Pat Cegieski also brushed up the Big Words print logo, so it actually looks the way I wanted it to all along.  If I can rake enough muck from this week, I’ll run a mailbag next week.  You’ve still got until Wednesday to voice your suggestions, concerns, and your two cents to:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

Since Alycia Ripley’s interview didn’t run in ArtVoice last week, I’m expecting it this Thursday.  The essay from last week’s Big Words print column (I Don’t Wanna Go On With ‘What Do You Want On That?’) is appearing in my upcoming collection, If They Can’t Take a Joke, so I won’t be reprinting it here.  Sorry.  If you didn’t pick up the print edition, you’re just going to have to wait.  I believe you should be caught up on everything over the weekend from the previous posts, so I’ll leave you with that.  I’m tooling away on the Gregg Sansone interview tomorrow on my only day off and should be shopping it around by week’s end.  Seeya in the funny papers, Tom Waters

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crass menagerie with a mind of its’ own, breathing room bellows out

December 13, 2006

     Despite my sincere feeling that I deserve a rest from the book writing business, my creativity seems to feel otherwise, and I’m almost ten pages into the book 6, with a working title of ‘Crass Menagerie’.  The essays are a bit shorter in the tooth than what I finished ‘Slapstick’ with, but I think I’m trying to get a handle on the overall theme and content of the collection, which, like ‘Slapstick’ will be essays and nothing but.  With almost a three year lead time, I’ve got plenty of time to make a big book with nothing but quality content. 

     As far as ‘Breathing Room’ goes, celebrated local poet Carrie Spadter will be getting together with me tomorrow to throw in her two cents on the project.  She’ll be editing the book for me and hopefully writing the introduction, and there’s no prose writer in existence that I respect more.  She was choice number one for the project, and I’m really honored and happy that she accepted the job.  If all goes well, I should have three hundred pages of prose that she can take a butcher’s knife to towards the end of 2007 in time for a spring ’08 launch simultaneously with ‘Slapstick’ or the untitled Buffalo anthology project with Alycia Ripley, whichever comes first.  God knows that there is no market whatsoever for poetry anymore, but I think fans of my other work might enjoy it more than they think.  This poetry is light years different in terms of style and content than anything I’ve written in the past, peppered with humor, inspiration, and a degree of naked confession I’ve never shown before.  Whatever the case, it should be interesting to see how the book evolves over the next year for me at the very least. 

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Week 5 on Stands, Week 4 Right Here!

December 11, 2006

     The newest issue of Night Life is out today with a brand new Big Words column that’s a classic from ‘If They Can’t Take A Joke’ entitled ‘I Don’t Wanna Go On With ‘What Did You Want On That?’ about the aggravation of drive throughs.  They were kind enough to list the web site address and the mailbag address this week, so hopefully we’ll ring up some hits here.  Don’t forget that I’ll be running a reader mail column the last week of every month in Night Life, so send all responses and criticisms about the columns to:

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com  

Since I specifically wrote ‘Interesting Locales For Mistletoe’ for the Big Words column, I’m reprinting it right here for your reading enjoyment in the event that you couldn’t get the print edition.

     Also, keep your eyes peeled for this week’s ArtVoice as it will be featuring my interview with author Alycia Ripley and possibly more.  I’ll be running that interview in its entirety with photos right here next Thursday.

     And if you haven’t gotten a chance yet, you really are missing out if you haven’t visited my YourHub site.  I’ve been padding the site liberally with stories, event listings and pictures.  It’s a lot more local and the focus is less on the writing and publishing than it is about friends, family and community.  I’ll be posting based on the site traffic, so visit often and rate even more often.  The direct link to my ‘Big Buffalo I Know By Heart’ site on YourHub is:

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

SEEYA!

Tom Waters

Interesting Locales For Mistletoe

This is it. The pre-holiday season is upon us. The next month is going to be a living, breathing, weight gaining, hair-pulling, ulcer-inducing, anxiety riddled gauntlet of pain for adults. Traffic gets five times worse, old women hold up post office lines, psychotic soccer moms with crispy short hair dos bark out orders in every department store, and we open our Sunday papers to find a small bible full of coupons, circulars and sales offers. This is gonna suck. The Christmas season really sucks once you’re a grown man. You don’t get toys anymore, there are in-laws or near in-laws to contend with, and holiday related activities chew up any time you might have had to sit on your ass on days off watching television or flipping through comic books on the toilet with a fresh cigarette and a small silo of strong coffee. Well, maybe that last part was just me.

I know that the weight I lost from this last flu bug is going to come right back to roost. If it isn’t Thanksgiving, it’ll be Christmas. And if it isn’t Christmas, it’ll be the cavalcade of drinks that go along with that week after Christmas leading in to New Year’s. The end of November through the end of January is a busy, drunken time. Getting obliterated is almost a prerequisite for making it clear on through to February, and by then, we all have staggering credit card bills and astonishing weight scale results. I might as well buy a few pairs of loose fitting pants now because I’m sure as hell not going to get any under my Christmas tree. I’m at an age now where I get a check in the mail or knick knacks. I can’t stand knick knacks. Buy me a bottle of scotch or a Bukowski book, don’t give me knick knacks. My girlfriend and I get tandem gifts, too, which are nice and practical and all, but, well, I want toys!

I shouldn’t complain. Her family doesn’t need to buy me anything. We’re not legally together in that way (a fact that never escapes any gathering which I even taunt and encourage on occasion), so any gesture is nice. I’m happy with the plate of pepperoni and cheese that they stock and serve especially for me. And her mom makes phenomenal home made stuffing for the Thanksgiving bird. This goes a long way with me. Plus they bring the reserve bottle of whiskey out from under the cupboard in the event that I want to enjoy one to eighteen cocktails during the all day family blowouts that her family is fond of throwing. It’s a culture shock, I suppose. After I moved out, I used to go to my parents for family get togethers, tear open the gifts, inhale my food, nap, and then leave. With them it’s an all day escapade. We show up at two in the afternoon and get home at eight. It’s a good thing that my parents fly south for the window and that my big brother and I only see each other two or three times a year because if I had to do the double family get together, someone would end up getting shot or beaten over the head with a manger scene.

I’m horrible about buying gifts, too. Forget that. Leave it to the housewives to chew each other’s throats out over scarves and epileptic Elmo’s, I’d rather give my money to ‘the wife’ and let her pick the stuff out. I don’t know from people, and I’m not good at figuring out what they want. I’m good at buying things for me, though. Maybe I should charge a small fee to my friends and family to pick out gifts for myself that they could give to me. I wonder if there’s a market for that? Anyhow, the aforementioned big brother and I have a wonderful arrangement where we don’t buy each other anything. We call each other on the phone on Christmas Day, exchange token pleasantries and go on with our day. We’re both cold, calculating corporate whores, so it’s a mutual respect that we share for each other. It’s not that I don’t love my big brother, because I do. It’s just that he has his Holiday Gauntlet to run, as do I. So I’ve only got ‘the old bag’ to worry about for presents. This year I believe I’ll stick a sprig of mistletoe into my belly button. Kidding.

And New Year’s is always a fiasco. The sad thing is that the Millenium was the best, craziest, drunkest New Year I will ever have and I realize that. It would be impossible to top that day. I went to one girlfriend’s, went to my parents’ house, went to another girlfriends, spent some time with her in her car outside of her parents’ house, and then left her to get f-ed up twenty ways to Sunday at my buddy’s house with all of our friends at his apartment out in Cheektowaga. I spent the next New Year’s with an exotic dancer at her apartment with a bottle of Goldschlager and a whip (a story that sounds more exciting than it was), which was pretty cool, too, but those days are long behind me. My current girlfriend and I threw a big bash at our apartment last year that was fun, but anticlimactic. There was a chocolate fountain and three or four bottles of champagne, strawberries, good whiskey, and thirty or forty of our closest friends. It gets old. You don’t want to drive to a party because you know there are going to be eight thousand cops just waiting to haul your ass in, you don’t want to go to the bars because it’s amateur night and people are going to be acting like total jackasses and you know there are also going to be eight thousand cops just waiting to haul your ass in, but you don’t want to stay at home alone like a seventy five year old couple that gets up the hour before Dick Clark’s ball drops just to have a small plastic glass of champagne and then go back to bed. It’s a real pickle. I think we might do the mature, apartment renting, Woody-Allen-esque thing this year and have two or three couples over for smart cocktails and engaging conversation. Than after midnight I’ll parade around the house with a champagne bottle up my ass. Maybe not.

I love turkey, I love whiskey, and I love checks in the mail, but can’t we fast forward and drop the madness for one year? I’ll be happy when it’s February and I’m looking at the bottom line on my filed tax return statement and we really start getting walloped with snow. Snow is Christmas enough for me. It sucks to drive in, but there’s something people down south rarely (if ever get). Waking up in the morning with a cigarette, scratching myself and looking out the window at a perfect, silent patch of freshly fallen snow. That, and watching ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ on DVD on Christmas Day for the eighteen millionth time. I never said I wasn’t festive, I just prefer to be festive without moving, talking, or spending time with anyone else. Does that make me a grinch?

Getting a colonoscopy to find last year’s cork,

Tom ‘Kwanza’ Waters

Questions, thoughts, criticisms and comments? Drop us a note online at ‘bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com’ For more rants, reviews, interviews and other nonsense, visit ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ online at www.tomwaters.blogspot.com.

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Slapstick Complete!

December 3, 2006

Much to my complete exhaustion and elation, Slapstick & Superego is now 100% complete at a modest 154 pages of nothing but rants and essays!  It’s slightly smaller than my average collections, but it felt done, and I’m tremendously proud of the work as a whole.  After resting today, I plan on going to work on Book 6, which I’ve decided to call Crass Menagerie unless something else strikes me as clever in the two years that I have to play with until I need another completed manuscript.  The beautiful thing about Slapstick & Superego is that I don’t need it out for another year and a half, so this gives me a great deal of time to ship multiple copies of the manuscript out to prospective and established publishing houses in the hopes that it will get published traditionally.  All you have to do now is hold your breath for a year and a half.  This book took me less time to write than any other collection to date, and I can’t gush enough about it.  It’s going to be a force to be reckoned with, I can assure you of that.  Five months left until If They Can’t Take a Joke and eighteen for Slapstick & Superego.  Synchronize your watches…

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