Archive for the ‘tom waters’ Category

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Big Words Video 15.1-15.5: The Pipitone Sessions!

November 6, 2015

I had the good fortune (and foresight) last month to take a road trip with co-host Brian Platter to see The Alison Pipitone Band perform at Mulconry’s Irish Pub in Fairport, NY.  The video clips resulting from that show were really great audio-wise (I’m tinkering, and will most likely continue to tinker with the video), and there were a lot of them.  Brian Platter even filled in between sets with a cover (‘No Diggity’ by Blackstreet, which NO ONE could have predicted) as well as an original from his newest album in production.  So long story short, you have a super-sized cavalcade of Big Words Video Bonus clips to watch and choose from this month.  I will also say (hint, hint) that there has NEVER been a better time to SUBSCRIBE FREE to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on YouTube.  Being a member has special and secret-handshake like advantages.  Here are the FIRST 5 (hint, hint) clips:

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There Will Be Piss

November 2, 2015

Elmo

“I can do anything I want!”
-Benjamin (whilst flying a cow riding a Jeep and wearing a Batman costume)

My son could grow up to be a serial killer or the President Of The United States, but I’d rather he grew up to be a decent person instead. Raising him is a soft touch. It’s my job to keep him grounded without crushing his dreams at the same time. I don’t want him to turn into every Only Child I’ve ever met, an entitled little shit, a schoolyard bully or another kid from the post-Millenial generation who gets trophies for failing. Everyone tells me that the Terrible Threes are a lot worse than the Terrible Twos. Right now we’re somewhere in between. Developmentally, it’s an exciting and frustrating time. He’s learning the power of Please along with the crushing realization that No is also a possible response. We’re learning and doing a lot of things for the first time (or some cases, the first time in a long time) together.

Here’s the thing about potty training: You’re going to wind up with piss everywhere. Piss on the bathroom floor, piss in the bed sheets, piss on the couch, piss on the ceiling, piss on the cat…in a nutshell, piss everywhere but the potty. To the best of my understanding, the goal of potty training is to eliminate all the variables and piss on absolutely everything until the only option left is the potty. Make friends with piss because there’s going to be a lot of it. I also strongly recommend a foam-based antibacterial agent. In every room.

Eventually, there’s a golden shower at the end of the rainbow. Or is it a light at the end of the urethra?  You know what I mean.  After months of urine-soaked pets, irreplaceable collectibles and all-weather indoor carpets that aren’t covered for Acts Of Juice, you can look forward to upending a concave race car with piss sloshing around in it into the actual toilet. Or some other officially licensed movie/cartoon/toy-inspired miniature commode. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds, but it’s my duty as a daddy. There was a ‘doody’ pun that could have been utilized there, but I fucking hate puns, so I sidestepped it.

And for the record, I really, really hope that Freud was wrong, because I don’t want to mess my kid’s entire life up by either rushing him to the toilet or telling him to take his sweet time. Sigmund Freud was a cokehead with a cross sampling of kinky Austrian housewives, so he was probably wrong. In the unlikely event that he knew what he was talking about, I’ve chosen to stop using a flare gun when my son sits down on the toilet. I have a distinct memory of crapping my pants in Kindergarten and getting sent home, so I would not be classified by Freudian standards as ‘Anal Retentive’. Subsequently, I grew up to be a portrait of perfect mental health (plus or minus three neuroses). I had a small amount of psychological blowback that stems from getting sent home from Kindergarten for crapping my pants, though. At least it didn’t happen last week at work.

There’s a bittersweet realization every day I’m with my son that he will only be two years and four months old once, or two years, five months and five days old once, and so on. This age will never come back around and no matter how I try to slow it down or wring every second out of every day, it goes by too quickly. I understand why couples keep having children now. They want to go back. They want to hang on to it. This sweet, bear-hugging cuddly age will only last so long and then it’s gone forever. I’m going to be the daddy blowing his nose into his shirt sleeve the first day of Pre-School. Possibly the dad who kisses his son on the cheek dropping him off at middle school. I’ll be the old man blubbering in the back of the auditorium at his high school graduation. But I’m projecting. I really do love him to pieces, even when he’s being a little monster. On those days, he takes after his mother.

I’ve learned to do a lot of things that I wouldn’t normally enjoy or do by myself. We’ve been to every park, nature reserve and playground in a five mile radius. Helpful Hint: Most playgrounds that are structurally engineered for three foot persons are not also suitable for those who are six foot three. We’ve been to a number of petting zoos. Helpful Hint: Wear durable shoes. You’ll know why later. We’ve been to ice cream parlors, toy stores and donut shops. That’s where the word No (strongly, firmly and with conviction) comes in handy along with a predesignated exit strategy in the extremely likely event of tantrums.

Being a parent means training a tiny life form what it is to be a human being. I’m still wrapping my head around what that means, but I’m doing the best I can. It means saying sorry after you bomb a long pass into someone’s foot with a five pound musical snail. That it’s not acceptable to eat microwave popcorn at 8:30 in the morning. Or that it’s not okay to watch the feature length motion picture The Incredibles immediately after watching the feature length motion picture The Incredibles. What’s great is that I got sober shortly after he was born, so we’re both finding out how to adjust to the world together at the same time. To be quite frank, my peeing aim is only slightly better.

Signing our name in the snow for our postgraduate semester,
Tom Waters

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 14: ‘Facetious’

October 24, 2015
Publicity Still for Episode 14 by producer Richard Wicka.

Publicity Still for Episode 14 by producer Richard Wicka.

Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, we had to do a last-minute guest shuffle for Episode 14.  Luckily, veteran Buffalo comedian Tyrone Maclin was already on the boards for June and he was available.  He’s a consumate professional, evidenced by the fact that he agreed to come on the show the day before the studio taping after getting a tooth root pulled and going something like 3 days with no sleep.  I was impressed!  He was a great guy to meet, really funny, and he’s at the heart of the entire comedy scene that’s in full swing right now in the region.  Co-host Henry Gale was our wild card, and he did a great job with that role.  Enough yakking though, here’s the episode:

Thanks are in order to Tyrone, Henry and producer Richard Wicka for inviting this insanity into his home and his studio on a monthly basis.  Please take the time to Like and Subscribe to The Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on Youtube for updates on new shows, bonus clips and other exclusive content!  I’ve got a rigorous shooting schedule for the next month, so you’ll hear from me a lot sooner than you think.  Musical legend Alison Pipitone is coming up in less than two weeks!

Excelsior!

Tom

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Big Words Video 14.5: ‘Unrequited’

October 24, 2015

If it were up to me, I would never film another Bonus clip at The Home Of The Future again.  It wasn’t my intention to buy a $400 camera just to film more footage from the same location.  That being said, guest Tyrone Maclin and I were both behind the 8-ball, so I went with a behind-the-scenes conversation we had at the round table right before Episode 14 started rolling.  Tyrone shows his softer, more vulnerable side as he talks about a fresh breakup at the end of one of the worst days of his life.  Please take a moment (ON YOUTUBE) to Like and Subscribe to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel (ON YOUTUBE) for notifications on new shows, bonus clips and anything else I can fill the channel with!

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‘Shotgun Start’-Tailgating At The Gates Of Hell Review

October 19, 2015
Tailgating At The Gates Of Hell by Justin Karcher with illustrations by Michael Biondo (2015, Ghost City Press)

Tailgating At The Gates Of Hell by Justin Karcher with illustrations by Michael Biondo (2015, Ghost City Press)

‘The rust born in my blood anchors me like a shipwreck
And it’s only through self-destruction
That I’m able to float freely.’-Virginia Isn’t For Lovers Like Me (pg.50)

Here’s the thing about being a mad bastard: you can always recognize another one. On some instinctual, primordial, reptilian, old-brain level, you can spot someone else who’s mad as a March Hare. Justin Karcher is out of his mind. In a good way. The best kind of way. In the poetic sense of someone who’s veins are on fire with passion and prose. The words are exploding out of this man and we’re all lucky enough to be on the other end of it. Trust me, I’ve been in his shoes and it’s a scary, exciting, unpredictable place to be. Real poetry…real poets? They’ve got the world pouring out of their fingertips and there’s no way to stop the flood. Tailgating At The Gates Of Hell is not your grandmother’s Condensed Best Of Safe and Inoffensive American Poetry Primer. Nothing inside of it will ever make it’s way onto a knitted sampler or the bumper sticker of a lily-white compact SUV. Thank God for that.

This is just the beginning. This is a Poet announcing his entrance into the ring. There’ll be more. A lot more. There’s no doubt of that. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that we’ll have a whole bookshelf reserved for Mr. Justin Karcher in no time flat. While the housewife poets and armchair poets and tourists are working on economy of line and flash poetry and happy insipid nonsense, Justin is firing off submissions and hat-tricking acceptances while the rest of the sane world sleeps. Not because he wants to, but because he has to. This is how he makes sense of a milquetoast planet lost in its own slumber. He’s writing his way either out of or into a rubber room depending on his point of view that very second. Or both. Depends on the poem, the girl, the state line in question and a lot of other variables.

Karcher’s poems obey their own laws of reality, space-time and sexuality. He creates his own vernacular as he goes, hammering out his own alliteration-laced glossary off-the-cuff, and it makes for damned good reading. The adjectives and expletives click into place like the best kind of bedfellows. A chapbook was too small for his first shot across the bow, and Michael Biondo’s illustrations serve the subject matter well, almost like cocktail-napkin sketches about two drinks past last call at the bar on the wrong side of town after the first eight dives, juke joints, crashed parties and speakeasies. There’s an interlocking narrative as you make your way through the book, a man grasping at the identity of country, self, sex and the illusion of sanity. Salvation through self-destruction. It’s a tune that’s not too distant for me, so I recognize the melody, and Karcher’s rendition is a real barn-burner.
 

Tailgating At The Gates Of Hell is just the shotgun start. Mark my words. This is the good stuff. Distilled, refined and fired right at you with staccato sincerity. From one mad bastard to another, Justin, well done.

Chewing through my restraints again,
Tom Waters

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Rapid Fire: Interview With Brian Azzarello from If They Can’t Take A Joke (2007, Authorhouse)

October 8, 2015

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Brian Azzarello is a tricky interview. I knew this going in, and tried to set up enough pitfalls and death traps along the way that he’d be bound to open up. Who knew that grilling was the topic that would wind him up and get him to open up a bit? The comic writer has turned the industry on it’s ear over the last five years, creating the award winning crime series 100 Bullets and applying his own personal hard-boiled genius to Batman, Superman, The Incredible Hulk (Banner), Hellblazer and Lex Luthor, infuriating some traditionalist fans and picking up some more of his own at the same time. He is to comics what Lon Chaney was to method actors. He dives into his dialogue head first and soaks it up on subways, street corners and dive bars. He knows the street and the words his characters bluster and swear and shout with is genuine. He’s also released Johnny Double, re-tooled Marvel’s Cage and worked on El Diablo. To be short and sweet (which is the way he prefers to write his dialogue and the way he prefers his music, conversation, and art), he is a bitch to interview. He’s squirrely and you need to move mountains very quickly to get past those defenses.

TW: Who was your inspiration for Agent Graves?
BA: Who? Lee Marvin.
TW: You’re obviously a fan of hard boiled crime fiction. Would you care to name some influences?
BA: Oh, god, just the usual suspects, I suppose. Thompson, Wolvert, Goodis. Goodis more than the rest.
TW: You’ve been known to listen to dialogue on subways and in bars. Do you research specific locales for specific titles and has it ever put you in any dangerous situations?
BA: No. No, it’s never…I’ve never been in a situation I couldn’t handle.
TW: How many other creator-based projects are you hiding?
BA: Hiding? I’m pretty open with ‘em to be honest with you, you know? I’ve got a series coming out in October called Loveless, which is a Western. It’s gonna be another ongoing series like 100 Bullets. It’s about a husband and wife…a pair of outlaws during Reconstruction. We’re calling it a noir spaghetti western.
TW:Are you serious about hanging up the capes after your tour of duty with Superman, Batman and Lex Luthor?
BA: Am I serious? Hell yes.
TW: You’ve been well praised for realistic and faithful dialogue of the underworld. Are you a fan of David Mamet?
BA: Yeah. Yeah, sure. Not everything. (laughs)
TW: Who are your favorite country singers?
BA: You mean like current?
TW: All time, current, if you want to go back to the great storytellers or current day…
BA: All time, it’s gotta be Cash. Current, I like Jim White a lot, and definitely Steve Earle.
TW: Cage was phenomenal.
BA: Thanks.
TW: Why did you decide to leave the ending open, though, and do you have any plans to revisit the character?
BA: No, he’s dead, c’mon. I’m…maybe. I think Marvel took that character in a different direction, though.
TW: Between your script and Corben’s artwork, it really blew me away.
BA: Well, you really can’t go wrong with the source material. I just basically did ‘Red Harvest’.
TW: What’s your working relationship like with Eduardo Risso? Have you met him yet at this point?
BA: Oh yeah, I have, we’ve met. We see each other basically about once a year. It’s great, you know? We communicate mostly through email.
TW: Do you have any plans to work with Richard Corben again?
BA: We’ve talked about it, yeah. I definitely would like to work with Richard again.
TW: You’ve been very vocal about fan boys in the past. Why do you think they hang on to their franchises so tightly?
BA: (long laugh) You mean…
TW: A lot of them have complained in the past about directions that you’ve taken with Hellblazer or some of the other big titles for DC and Marvel. They piss and moan about…
BA: They want what they remember, you know? And basically, yeah, it’s not what you remember, or what they remember. It’s…for a lot of these people, it’s like, comics, it’s like…they still read the things?
But they’re reading it for something that they’re not gonna get. They’re chasing that first orgasm again.
TW: What’s your favorite whiskey?
BA: I can’t drink the stuff anymore.
TW: Not even Knob Creek?
BA: Nah, that was my favorite. No man, I just look at a shot glass of whiskey and I get a hangover these days. Now I drink tequila.
TW: That’s how you wake up in another state with no pants.
BA: That isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
TW: How did you plan John Constantine’s cross-country trip initially?
BA: Initially, I just threw him in prison. I didn’t plan to move him anywhere.
TW: You write a lot of your best scenes in a bar environment. Do you write any of your outlines or scripts while you’re in bars?
BA: I used to, but I really don’t anymore. Well, if I’m outta town, yeah, but I can’t do that here anymore.
TW: Too loud?
BA: No. Like…I don’t know, I get interrupted.
TW: Hard Time was one of the best story arcs in the series. Did you have a ball writing the script or is it more like a job when you’re assigned to an established series?
BA: No, definitely it was not a job. I had fun writing Constantine. A lot of fun.
TW: Any more hints on the finale to 100 Bullets?
BA: No hints. Nothing.
TW: It felt like you lived and breathed New Orleans in 100 Bullets: The Hard Way; Have you vacationed there and if so, for how long?
BA: Yeah, I’ve been there a number of times. I’m going again this winter.
TW: Raymond Carver or Raymond Chandler?
BA: Oh man, that’s hard!
TW: If you had to pick.
BA: If I had to pick? I can’t! I can’t pick…no! That’s tough! You know, on one hand it’s like…you go with Chandler, but…if you go with Carver, there’s so much more stories.
TW: Well I know you’re a fan of minimalism and economy of dialogue, and Carver was great at doing that.
BA: Oh yeah, I think so too. He would use the fewest amount of words to just bum the piss out of you.
(laughs)
TW: I found out today that you enjoy cooking. What’s your favorite recipe?
BA: Oh god, I don’t know. I cook all the time. It’s probably…five nights a week, sometimes six. I just got a new grill so I’ve been grilling every night.
TW: I got a Sunbeam a few months ago and took a ’phd in grilling’.
BA: See now, I had a gas grill, and all the guts had to be replaced, so like, in between doing that, I just pulled out a little smoky grill, and I’m using that thing again. I forgot how wood makes food taste. Then after a while I got this thing called the Big Green Egg. It’s this big, ceramic, wood fire grill, like a kiln. It’s all ceramic.
TW: I used to be a prime rib fan and now I’m all for Porterhouse.
BA: Oh, yeah! Porterhouse, you get the two best cuts.
TW: Why did you decide to humanize Killer Croc?
BA: He needed it. I mean, I think…I think the Batman villains work better if they’re human. ‘Cause he…Killer Croc started out as human! I just brought him back to his roots is all.
TW: Have you ever considered doing anything with Swamp Thing?
BA: Probably not. We talked about it, but I don’t think so. Not at this point, anyway.
TW: What was the last comic you read that humbled you?
BA: Whew, geez.
TW: Something that really blew you away.
BA: Let me look here. I’m looking at, like, all the recent stuff I got. Oh, well the last thing that really, really blew me away was Joe Kubert’s Yossel. A hardcover came out from, I think IDW…the publisher. I-Books rather was the publisher.
TW: I read Ex Machina right after Cage and it just hit me like a ton of bricks.
BA: They’re two different tons, too. (laughs) Brian (K. Vaughn) comes from a completely different place than I do with his stories.
TW: Frank Miller took Batman backward and forward. Mark Waid took the entire DC Universe into the future. Will you ever pen an aging icon in the industry?
BA: Man, I don’t know. I have no clue.
TW: (exasperated) I gotta say, you’re a tough interview! (laughing)
BA: Yeah, I’ve heard that before.
TW: I keep hoping I’m gonna hit some landmine here…
BA: Yeah, well, working on the company of characters right now, it’s just, it’s not anything I really want to do.
TW: Well, I know that working on superheroes isn’t what you enjoy…
BA: No, it’s not what I enjoy, and after working on ‘em, it’s…I know why I don’t enjoy them! (laughs) It seems like a lot of the stuff…the whole point is to get to the punch, and that’s kind of juvenile. Especially when there’s guns around.
TW: Speaking of guns, Sgt. Rock: Between Hell and a Hard Place was very good.
BA: Thanks. That was a good experience, working with Joe (Kubert). I mean…it…I’ve been lucky with my artists, know what I mean?
TW: What would you like your epitaph to say?
BA: One more for the road (laughs)
TW:How did Jim Lee talk you into a chat room with Kilgore Trout? The interview came off with this particular fan boy as a bit obnoxious.
BA: With Kilgore?
TW: Yeah.
BA: I don’t know if he was obnoxious, he just like…ehh…I think he was a little close-minded. It’s not just him, but a lot of people have very, very specific ideas of what these characters are and how they’re supposed to operate. And if you deviate from those, you are, you don’t understand them.
TW: They hang on too tight.
BA: Yeah, you know, and it’s…yeah.
TW: You’ve mentioned that you don’t have any plans to work with Jill (Thompson, Azzarello’s wife) on anything, but do you two compare notes, or…
BA: We talk about stuff, yeah. That’s one of the reasons why we probably won’t work together.
It’s much better to approach each other’s stuff with a fresh eye.
TW: (exasperated) That’s all I’ve got! I put two weeks of work into these questions!
BA: Well, do you wanna revisit some of these questions? You can pull something else out if you want.
TW: (sighs) I uh…really wanted to reread more of your stuff. I got to volume four of 100 Bullets and have been tied up with a lot of other things, reading other things. What are you working on right now?
BA: What was I working on today when you called? 100 Bullets.
TW: Are you one of those writers who gets up at the asscrack of dawn at 6 am with a cup of coffee and goes to work?
BA: I usually am up about six or seven. Coffee, newspaper, sit down…
TW: You said once before that you wanted to do a sequel to Johnny Double. Is that on the horizon?
BA: No, I doubt that’ll ever happen right now. There’s other things goin’ on. The next…after Loveless, right now, I’m in development with for three graphic novels. One a year for the next few years.
TW: Do you see any other spinoffs with any of your work? Once 100 Bullets is done, do you see any of the peripheral characters off on their own?
BA: Not for me. When it’s done it’s done, as far as I’m concerned. Unless I’m broke and say, ‘Hey, let’s go back’.
TW: I heard that DC approached Alan Moore to do a sequel to Watchmen and it just seems wrong.
BA: Eh, it doesn’t hurt to ask. The guy could say yes. After 100 issues of 100 Bullets, though, I’m pretty sure it’ll be done.
TW: Did you have the storyboards and the outline worked out from the first issue?
BA: Our original contract was for just a year. So…I kinda…a decision had to be made. Can you get this down to a year or maybe eighteen months. If it’s not doing well, we’ll give you six issues to wrap it up. That was an option. Instead I just said, well, I said yes. I said I could do it…but there was no way I coulda done it. So I figured, we’ll just tell the twelve and if that’s all we tell that’s all we tell. Fine.
TW: What’s it been like working with Jim Lee? He seems a bit more traditional than a lot of the artists that you’ve worked with. Corben’s got a very recognizable look and Risso has a very distinct style.
BA: Well, so does Jim. As far as the superhero stuff goes, I don’t know if there’s anyone any better than Jim. Working with him, I didn’t treat him any differently. I left him a lot of room to improvise…especially the fight stuff that was in there. I left that kind of choreography to him…how to do it. ‘Cause he does it better than me.
TW: I think that’s everything I’ve got. I appreciate you taking the time out for me.
BA: (laughs) I mean, I’m a terrible self-promoter.
TW: You’d rather let the work speak for itself.
BA: Absolutely. I don’t want to be a celebrity. The point of my life is to work.

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Frank Miller Can Blow Me! (from Mockery, 2011 Doubt It Publishing)

October 6, 2015
Miller takes another payday from DC Comics for this fall's upcoming mini-series The Dark Knight III: The Master Race.

Miller takes another payday from DC Comics for this fall’s upcoming mini-series The Dark Knight III: The Master Race.

Author’s Note: ‘*Fill-In-The-Blank* Can Blow Me’ was a regular column (and for all I know, still is) at Acid Logic, the site I’ve written and contributed to since the early 2000’s.  So I was trying to write for that format. With the pre-release controversy machine already gearing up for The Dark Knight III: Master Race, I figured this’d be a good time to post the following click-bait.  First-time visitor to the site?  Then please feel free to Like, Subscribe and stick around for awhile!  -Tom

Originally appeared on AcidLogic.com on August 1st, 2008.

Frank Miller can toss my salad and gargle with the creamed corn. Every one of his ‘great works’ is going downhill at the speed of sound the longer he keeps coming out with new projects. And by projects, I mean the realm of film that he’s somehow blown his own way into.

I love Batman, but I’m not touching the new All Star Batman compilation by Miller with a ten foot pole. My comics retailer told me to buy it and that I’d hate it. Why in the fuck would I buy some piece of garbage for thirty dollars knowing full well that it was going to upset me? Apparently, Miller takes his disgust for the franchise that made him the overly-compromised whore he is today and ‘turns the series on it’s ear’ by ‘shifting the paradigm’. Those phrases are about as original as anything he’s done in the last fifteen years, so they felt warranted.

Frank Miller has lost his motherfucking mind. The Dark Knight Strikes Back had an uninspired title, poor computer generated artwork and a storyline that was more brass balls than character arc. It was a sad, pale imitation of it’s predecessor. I’ve explained these books in full detail many times over, so you’re not getting a synopsis here because I’m too fired up.

In his old age, he’s become a paranoid delusional maniac with a full tilt delusion of grandeur. Sin City the ‘film’ may be a wet dream for frat boys and tough guys, but it didn’t carry over well onto celluloid. 300 was such an obnoxious case study in slow-motion overuse that I wanted to drive out to Hollywood and smack the director in the face with my dick. After giving him the ‘mushroom bruce’, I’d walk over to Frank Miller’s house, where he could commence to blowing my ‘soup can’ of a cock.

Sin City (the black and white graphic novel series) wasn’t really that hot, either. Take every pathetic dime store novel stereotype you’ve ever read, suck the ingenuity that a great crime novelist like Chandler or Hammett would infuse the story with, fuck that story in the ass, water it down some more, give it some ‘hardcore’ balls-out abstract artistic leanings in the panels, take a steaming shot between seven or so perfect bound collections, smear your taint-cheese right at the anti-climactic stupidity of each interconnected ‘story’ in this city, and you have something that resembles a grade school-serial-killer in training’s circle jerk session with a cat he just tortured and drowned in a barrel of lye. Over-rated tripe.

And now, this Christmas, Miller takes the director’s chair a second time to torture the world by fucking up the very spirit of Will Eisner’s Spirit. How fucking dare you, Frank. Climb a chair, slip through a noose and take your own life. Is that too harsh? Too goddamned bad. You’re embarrassing yourself and the rest of the comic enthusiast macrocosm in tinsel town. The last ten years of your artistic life have been a pathetic, flaccid facsimile of your former glory.

You’ve peaked. Call it day. Hang up your hat, kick off your shoes and go home. I don’t like you anymore. My friend doesn’t like you either. Rip that line from Star Wars and work it into the next sequel that you whore yourself out for with DC, you little bitch! Ooh, but you make me mad!

Many writers write their best work before they become financially successful. You’re obviously on the other end of that spectrum. Trust me, I’m not jealous. I make decent money doing what I do, I have leverage where it matters and at the end of the day I sleep on a bed of residual and commission cash (from freelancing and books) with a woman who has (and always will have) the ass of a 16 year old cheerleading captain in Catholic school. Both of these factors give me enough werewithal and gumption to write another twenty books, each one successively better than the next.

Dark Knight Returns is looked upon as one of the most important comic legends in the history of the medium right up there with Alan Moore’s The Watchmen. Alan Moore continues to break every mold and genre he’s compared to while ever-striving to grow the collective audience for the artistic field. Miller continues to back himself into a corner like a half-wit obsessively slapping his own flimsy prick up against a corner.

Batman: Year One is the template upon which Batman Begins was drawn from, and for good reason. Daredevil: Elektra changed my life and the lives of many others with it’s gritty artwork (also drawn by Miller) and it’s haunting ruminations on unrequited love and the prospect of one-time resurrection. After that, Miller has been going downhill faster than Barrack Obama in a soap box derby cotton gin on wheels. He’s done. Finished. Washed up, whored out and stretched to the point of being worse than a contract soap opera writer. If you could travel back in time and see how inspiring and original and ground-breaking you were, you’d climb a clock tower, install a diving board and then jack-knife onto the concrete fifty feet below.

Listen, Frank. If you can’t strive to improve with each literary or cinematic outing, then you’re done. Throw in the towel. Drop your pencils, your word processor, your agent, and then I’ll drop my pants and stuff all seven and a half inches of my ‘babie’s arm holding an apple’ into the back of your tonsils. What’s the smartest thing that ever came out of Frank Miller’s mouth? My dick.

-Yeah, I stole that joke. Just writing about Miller makes me a derivative hack, too, so I’m stopping now to invest my creative energies into something infinitely more satisfying than meditations on a nobody. You fucked up, Miller. Now wipe the spunk of your chin and go away.

Tom ‘Brazilian wax’ Waters

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Like A Yo-Yo-ing Hole In The Head

October 1, 2015

I lose what little sanity I have left every time I’m behind the wheel.

Ten years ago I got a speeding ticket for going 55 in a 30 past a police station. My bad. I’m thankful for that though, because I learned in the mandated driver safety course that police only target motorists who speed in excess of 11 miles over the limit. From that point forward I’ve driven ten miles over the posted limit, no more, no less. Life is too short to go 30 miles an hour and I really wish everyone would incorporate this philosophy into their subroutine. As a result, I’ve become more aggressive when driving than I was to begin with, and I was pretty angry before that particular ticket (which is not to be confused with the citation
I got for going 50 through a 30 mph school zone in the summer).

I scream at people in front of me knowing full well that they can’t hear me. I have entire one-sided dialogues with them whether they know it or not. I get that from my mother, who (fortunately for everyone else on the road including passing deer) retired from driving fifteen years ago after a long and illustrious career of vehicle-totaling mishaps that were usually her fault. If I’m stuck behind a slowpoke for five minutes I will pass them out of spite and give them the ‘Thumbs Up’ gesture when we make eye contact. Giving people the middle finger when driving is now officially passe’. It is no longer fashionable. I was a passenger in someone’s car when they gave a neighboring driver the Thumbs Up and loved it instantaneously. It’s insulting, sarcastic and really conveys your dissatisfaction in the quality of their ability to operate a motor vehicle. Shaking your head at people in disgust is good too, but you have to make sure that they see you doing it. I usually pair my Thumbs Up by verbally telling them (or mouthing the words) ‘You’re doing a great job!’ I don’t have road rage. I have road psychosis. I am not a patient man, even less so when I’m trying to get somewhere in an expedient manner, which just so happens to be all of the time.

We’ve all taken the same permit test when we were kids so we’re all on the same page with the notion that the fast lane is located in the left hand lane. That’s an established rule of infrastructure, right? As a result, I am infuriated by anyone’s flagrant violation of this rule. Same thing with turning signals. We all have them. We all know what they do. So fucking USE them. And try using them for longer than a quick blink right before you turn. I blow my top when people are going under the speed limit and cars to the right of me are lapping us. I don’t have any desire to street race or show off my car’s ability (or inability) to go from 0-60 in five seconds, but again, ten miles over the speed limit is legally acceptable, so why wouldn’t you do THAT? These three things short circuit my brain. I flip my shit. I lose my mind.

What’s really challenging for me these days is self-censoring my automotive hate speech in real time for my son. He’s at an age now where he repeats everything he hears and that’s no bueno. All it took was one blasphemous obscenity parroted from the back baby seat before I started making a concerted effort to alter my snappy insults for an All Ages Audience.

‘Move it, F&$K-face!’

-has turned into:

‘Move it, Yo-Yo!’

and:

‘Real nice, you @$%&*!#ing c*&%$#-s#%&ing m@#$%er-@#$%!’

-has been replaced with:

‘I need to get to work, Yo-Yo!’

That is my new go-to when Little Pitcher is strapped into his miniature regulation seat behind me. The last thing I need is reports from Day Care or (even worse) his mother that he’s demonstrating and reciting a College-Level swearing proficiency. I need that like a yo-yo-ing hole in the head.
There’s a small risk that what I’m about to say is controversial, but I’m going to say it anyway. If you’re over the age of 60 and you can’t drive the speed limit, use your blinker or remain within the clearly marked boundaries of any one lane while puttering forward in a straight line, do the rest of us a favor in three easy steps:

1. Pull over to the side of the road.
2. Dig a shallow hole.
3. Climb into it.

Again, that may not be the most politically correct viewpoint, but it’s mine and I’m going to own it. Old people should get the Ever-Loving Yo-Yo off the road. Most of them. And stay off. Furthermore, if you’re going to buy a Buick, be the one person who doesn’t perfectly illustrate the stereotype. Drive faster than 32 miles an hour during rush hour traffic. Use your turning signal to tip fellow travelers off to the fact that you’re going to cut through three separate lanes because you forgot where your poop doctor was located until the last minute. Buy some sunglasses that don’t make you look like Cyclops from the X-Men. That’d be a good start. Or if you don’t fit this demographic, buy a Buick and prove me wrong.

Navigating traffic is a combination of simple math and prejudgement for me. If one lane out of two has forty cars to my immediate front, I glide into the other lane. Statistically, more cars equals more people driving slower than Mr. Magoo on Quaaludes, so the lane with the least cars is least likely to contain idiots. Or more likely to contain less idiots. The fast lane isn’t always fast, and it’s less likely to be fast if there are forty cars ahead of you. If I see a school bus, a garbage truck, a Buick with a miniature mummified corpse operating it, an F150 truck with a short bald guy driving it or especially a minivan (a vehicle and subculture of driver I’ve written about at great length elsewhere) I get into the other lane.

Does everyone with an F150 truck have a quarter inch cock or just the guys? Why does every gargantuan ginormous truck owner have to be a four foot bald man packing a shriveled and flaccid Vienna sausage? Why is that? The simple answer is overcompensation, and the simplest solution is typically the correct one. I see more F150s in Buffalo than you would reasonably expect and it makes no sense. I have never seen anyone in Buffalo using their oversized truck to scale the side of a majestic mountain like they do in the commercials. I have never seen anyone in Buffalo hauling half a forest full of logs in their sterling silver flatbed. I have never spotted a ‘Hemi’-powered vehicle maneuvering through a mud-caked field in some grand off-roading excursion adventure getaway.

What purpose does it serve to drive a gas guzzling behemoth? Is your pee-pee so small that you can’t bear to leave the house unless you negotiate a step-stool or repel into the cavernous cab of a truck? Do you have so much disposable income that you need a higher monthly payment on the vehicle that gets you from Point A to Point B? Do you enjoy hanging out at the gas pump so much that you need an excuse to be there more often because your motorized carriage flash-fries fossil fuels? I’m not a carbon footprint worry wart, but show me any practicality behind that buying decision because I can’t find it. Why is it always a tiny bald guy with a chip on his shoulder driving a truck or a silver-haired septuagenarian hunched over the wheel of a Buick? That’s either brilliant marketing on the part of automotive manufacturers in targeting their core demographic or a case of life imitating stereotypes.

I’m not a ‘car’ guy at all. I have a visual deficiency whereby they all look like boxes to me. Literally. I couldn’t tell you a make or model by looking at it to save my life. They are mostly steel carriages that transport us from one spot to another in my mind, no more, no less. They are holes that we dump money into until they reach the point where they’re more expensive to repair than they are to replace. That’s it. I don’t even wash my car anymore. I used to take it to the car wash once a year when I got my tax return, but I don’t even do that anymore. It’s not that important. Passengers have pointed out that I need to clean the inside of my windshield due to excessive tar buildup and I quit smoking a year ago. I cannot change my own engine oil. I have no interest in learning how. I’ve seen the steps leading up to changing a tire, their sequence and the reasons behind them, but probably couldn’t do that either if the scenario presented itself.

The last time I popped a flat, my girlfriend came over and changed it for me. This is how inconsequential cars are to me. So I don’t grasp how many grown men have created a culture out of classic cars, muscle cars, souping up their cars, souping up their sound systems, racing their cars, working on their cars in their garages and so on and so forth. One of my best friends is a car guy. He even works at a car dealership. We never talk about it. On the occasions that it crops up in conversation, my brain glazes over or taps out until he pulls me back into it. I cannot identify a piston, a carburetor or a flux capacitor in a lineup. I don’t know what they do, nor do I care. We’re from two different worlds, but we still get along. It would probably make for a good sitcom pilot that no one would ever watch.

I’m trying to become a better person, but my driving persona will be the last aspect of my psyche to get an overhaul. All of my worst character defects are on full display like a dashboard hula girl with Tourette’s. Presently, I’ll take a partial progress grade of Thumbs Up.

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 13: ‘Auteur’

September 24, 2015
Big Words Video 13 Publicity Still by Producer Richard Wicka.

Big Words Video 13 Publicity Still by Producer Richard Wicka.

At the end of Season One, I came to the shocking conclusion that (out of 12 episodes), I only had one female guest on.  That didn’t make sense, because there are a lot of talented women in and around Buffalo. We’re going to make up for that in the next three months starting with writer/director Rhonda Parker, whose first feature length film Friends Don’t Let Friends Date Friends really won me over with its wit, wisdom and pure heart.  Co-Host Terry Kimmel got a return ticket into the Co Host Hot Seat and all was right with the world.  I’ve done away with the roman numerals for the second year of the show not because I can’t count past twelve, but in order  make it easier to find on YouTube.  Here’s the new show:

Thanks are in order to Rhonda, Mark, Terry and as always producer Richard Wicka.  As always, please take the time to Like, Share, Favorite, Retweet, +1, etc. for the show.  Entertainment does not exist in a vacuum.  I’ll see you next week, right here with a brand new rant!

Don’t you dare touch that dial.

Tom

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Big Words Video 13.5: ‘Amalgamation’

September 24, 2015

Terry Kimmel helmed the camera for this particular Big Words Video bonus.  The resulting clip is a kinder, gentler interview with Rhonda Parker and her husband Mark about their filmmaking process, the balance between work and art and everything in between.  Please take a moment to SUBSCRIBE to the Big Words I Know By Heart CHANNEL on YouTube for updates on new shows, bonus clips and other assorted silliness!

Special thanks to Terry for enduring my abuse not once, not twice, but thrice thus far.  Say that five times fast.

-Tom

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Big Words Video @Wing Fest 2015

September 7, 2015

The show has a brief history of poor camerawork in the field.  These two clips are further illustration of same.  I spent the day at Buffalo Wing Fest with two of the Mikes that I know.  While my Sony PJ340 is so easy a child could operate it, unfortunately, I did not have a small child on hand to operate the camera.  Two of the four clips we staged were salvaged while the other two clips, were, technically speaking, never recorded.  We did have a great time at Wing Fest.  One of these days I’ll have a series of pretty, competent clips for an event I’m at in a Press-Like capacity.  Today wasn’t the day.  Thanks are in order to Wing King Drew Cerza for the comp passes.  We’ll do better next time.  Possibly.

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Broken Toys

September 1, 2015

If you could somehow corral all my exes into a small stadium, you’d have enough crazy to power the Eastern Seaboard. Realistically, you wouldn’t even need a small stadium. I’m not that much of a stud. You could shoehorn all the participants of my romantic career into a small kitchen. Too sexist? Okay, a studio apartment. It would be a dangerous endeavor, because odds are that if you threw them all into one room, they’d eviscerate each other by lunchtime. My love life has been a lightning rod for psychosis, rage, irrational behavior and flat-out silliness. No less than four of the women I’ve been with had diagnosed mental illnesses either before, during or after our relationship. Someone told me once that ‘Hurt people hurt people’. I prefer to say that the damaged manage to find the damaged. I actually never said that until the previous sentence. I have a profound appreciation for the female race, but somehow I always draw whack jobs.

I firmly believe that there’s a wide chasm between the people you attract and the people you’re attracted to. Occasionally both categories converge, but that’s a statistical rarity. Admittedly, I am attracted to the erratic, the illogical and those who have simply gone around the bend a long time ago. My little brother likes to say “Crazy in the head, crazy in bed.” He’s right. Sex is seldom mechanical or clinical when you spend your time with women who are “a little off.” That’s being too generous. Let’s go with “totally fucking nuts.”

In my 39 years, I’ve dated a stripper, a massage therapist, no less than two former Catholic schoolgirls (who, to my great regret, did NOT hang onto their uniforms), an actress, a deejay, two nurses, a former Playboy Club employee, a marathon runner, a witch, two poets, at least two women with daddy issues, two women with mommy issues, a self-styled hippie, a philosophy instructor and a girl who had a collection of porcelain fairies. No less than three of the aforementioned were bisexuals. I will also gladly go on the record by saying that I will never date a poetess again because their brand of crazy far exceeds any other classification, genus or subspecies of the female race. I can’t really tell you approximately how many women I’ve been with because I stopped counting after eight, which was around the turn of the century. I suppose I was grateful that eight separate women took their clothes off for me and let me do things to them, and assumed that anyone else who wound up with me henceforth was gravy. So let’s just say that I’m in the low double digits for those of you keeping score at home.

To their defense, I freely admit that I have issues. I’m bipolar, I’m a Scorpio and I’m actively enrolled in recovery. Any one of those red flags would fall effortlessly into the category of ‘high maintenance’. The upside to this is that most of my subjects graduate to Muses (or, depending on your point of view or the girlfriend, comic relief) during our time together, so they reap the unintentional benefit of being written about. The downside to this is that (long after the pairing is terminated by either party) I will continue to write about the aforementioned subject long after we’re together, and it probably won’t be in a positive light depending on the conclusion or loose end we left off on. With my objective point of view, I can assure you that the end of every relationship has been the other person’s fault. Moving on, then. Not all women are attracted to me, but the ones who are tend to fall pretty hard. I had to break up with one in therapy and yet another sought inpatient treatment after our relationship concluded. Still another (rumor has it) became a lesbian after I broke up with her. I am neither proud nor ashamed of that. Good for her, though!

I’m not very good in a relationship. It’s safe to say that there’s plenty of room for improvement. Like, well, ALL men, I expend an inordinate amount of energy into the initial chase and capture and lose momentum and/or interest on the follow through. Guys (at least every guy I’ve ever known) are all about the conquest and after that, they lose interest. It could be a biological imperative, genetic encoding, Nature V. Nurture, or it could just be that most men are assholes. I will not dispute that I’m an asshole. It’s fortunate that women fall for assholes.

I wasn’t always an asshole. Like most assholes, I began life as a nice guy, and morphed into an asshole after slowly and systematically having my soul and spirit crushed by women in something that resembled a co-dependent particle collider. I do have a deeply rooted sense of romanticism and chivalry but there are multiple tectonic surface layers of assholery that have to be excavated before reaching that soft candy center.

Most of the women that I’ve been with are not the types of women that you bring home to mom. Quite the opposite, in point of fact. They have been a special breed of wrong, being impulsive, pierced, experimental, daring, exhibitionistic, well-outfitted and highly sexual. All of these traits harvest large net gains in the bedroom. Using an investment portfolio as a metaphor, there is no profit to be had over the long term, though. However, life was never boring with the majority of these girls. Thunderous sex and calamitous fights I can work with. The aforementioned is much more interesting than, say, a stable, healthy relationship with minimum peaks and valleys.

Now that I’m coming out of a five year marriage which was part and parcel of a ten year relationship, I wonder if I will sustain the same classification of woman not if but when I get involved with someone again. I’ve changed and grown emotionally in the last ten years, so perhaps the sort of girl that I wind up with next will be different. Perhaps not. I married the woman I married because she was an exact opposite of virtually every woman I’d ever been with. On the surface, she appeared to be sensible, logical and practical. This translated into an incredibly boring human being and an even more boring partner. Trust me when I say I’m not speaking out of bitterness but rather as an assessment in relation to my other subjects. In the end, it turned out that she was crazier than almost all of them after the relationship rather than during it.

Unfortunately, I am back on the meat market after ten years with no experience in the field. Times have changed, women have changed with those times and dating rituals may be different. As I approach forty, I’m faced with two options: 1.) Date someone younger in an effort to deliberately pick up where I left off emotionally ten years ago and also to avoid very real baggage or 2.) Date someone my own age and get used to dealing with, carrying and encountering great goddamned airports full of very real, very dog-eared, demolished and weathered baggage. I’m bringing quite a bit of my own to the table. I am now a proud single dad, divorcee and actively enrolled in recovery. And there’s that pesky Scorpio thing, if you actually subscribe to astrology.

By some quirk of fate, I’ve leap-frogged into a stratus of women (based on a cursory glance at *Popular Dating App*) that contains cat lovers (possibly multiple cats) who have never been married, early adopters to the stereotypical old maid (also rumored to be cat lovers), women who put their careers first before worrying about starting a family who missed the deadline, bible nuts who can’t find a date in their flock, soccer moms, angry divorcees, women who have something seriously wrong with them under the surface and as a result have never had a long-term interaction with the opposite sex and the dangerously young who are obviously supplementing their steady diet of daddy issues.

Full Discloser: I own one cat.

Fuller Disclosure: He’s also an asshole.

These are dangerous demographics, to be sure, but if history is any indicator, I should be able to cull the crazy out of that flock with relative ease and grace. Do I still pine for a dysfunctional pairing? I suppose on some level I do. Would I like to find out or am I even capable of a healthy, fulfilling, meaningful relationship? The Magic 8 Ball informs me that it’s ‘Highly Unlikely’. I’m drawn to interesting women, and to some extent (as a creative person), I’ve always gravitated towards creative partners.

Today is the first day of the rest of my love life. Note to self: buy a new pair of handcuffs.

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode XI: ‘Mulligan’

August 28, 2015
Big Words Video XI Publicity Still by Producer Richard Wicka.

Big Words Video XI Publicity Still by Producer Richard Wicka.

Buffalo’s a small city, and when you’re an artistic type, you tend to bump into the same people over and over as the years shuffle onward.  Public Editor-In-Chief Geoff Kelly and I have been friends for going on fifteen years now, and I’m glad we keep seeing each other.  He was a solid guest, he’s a great journalist and this episode was one year and two shoots into the making.  We originally shot the show in June only to find out that we lost it because of a sound problem.  Geoff was good enough to circle back yesterday for another attempt.  Producer Richard Wicka implemented a new lighting system to his Home Of The Future that gives the show a very crisp look rolling into the second season, Mike P. brought a dry sensibility in the Co Host Hot Seat, and of course, there’s the moustache.  Thanks are in order to Geoff, Richard, Mike and also Brian Platter for recording a new rendition of Jay Desiderio’s original theme music for the show.  Please be kind enough to Like, Share, Subscribe, Favorite, Retweet, +1 or whatever the hell else it is that the kids are doing on their social medias these days!  I’ll see you next week with a brand new rant right here!

Tom

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Big Words Video 11.5: ‘Subversive’

August 28, 2015

This was a clip I spent an entire day grappling with.  Geoff and I had the idea to turn the camera around and aim a few questions at the wise-cracking host who relentlessly roasts all of his guests.  The results were less than flattering, but in the interest of fairness, I ran with it.  See for yourself.  And while you’re at it, please SUBSCRIBE to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel on Youtube for new shows, updates and other miscellany as it develops.  The show’s got a really strong roster this year.  I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

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‘Genetically Mortified’ from the upcoming book Travesty

August 3, 2015

I have lost the will to cook.

Now that I’m single again, I don’t have the initiative to prepare, cook and serve full meals. It doesn’t really make sense to me. I used to watch cooking shows morning, noon and night, research recipes and conjure up my own concoctions. There’s no point now. It’s very tough to cook for just one person, so I don’t. When I have my son, I somehow summon the willpower to make one of the four foods that he’s willing to eat (he’s difficult to please, which he subsequently gets from his mother), but the rest of the time my dinner could either be starch and grease out of a bag or a handful of potato chips and half of a flat diet soda.
I’m not sure if I was ever a ‘Foodie’ because I don’t know what that term means, aside from being a pleasant euphemism for ‘Morbidly Obese People Who Can Afford Rich & Exotic Foodstuffs’. ‘Foodie’ is a popular identifier for many, and I think it implies that someone is well-traveled when it comes to cuisine, or that they take extra care and caution to select only the finest ingredients for their palate. Everyone I know who identifies with the term Foodie is 347 pounds, with the singular exception of Food Network Host Giada Delaurentis, who looks like either a lit Jack-O-Lantern or a grinning jackal depending on the quality of the lighting.

I can identify more with being a glutton, which is an extrapolation of being a middle child. I grew up during dinner time with the knowledge that if I didn’t eat quickly, the food might be gone. As a result of this, I usually eat as if there’s a timed countdown and/or a gun to my head. Sometimes I chew. I remember reading a biography about John Lennon and learning that he went through a phase of chewing everything 37 or 38 times before swallowing in an effort to metabolize and fully taste the food while he was eating. I don’t have time for that nonsense.

These days my diet (like most of my life) has been oversimplified. I eat supermarket muffins every morning because that’s one less choice to make when I get up in the morning. For lunch, I consume two pounds of cold cuts making man-sized sandwiches with half a bottle of mustard per sandwich and a slice of cheese for each side of white bread. The guys at work make fun of me for preparing sandwiches of Dagwood proportions, but this is what I feel sandwiches should be. Dinner is my wild card. A great majority of the time I buy bagged rice meals (which contain 3000% of my weekly sodium intake, which is a relief because the salt licks I was relying on have really skyrocketed in recent years due to salt lick speculation in the stock market). The bagged rice meals are often on sale 10 for $10. So that’s about a dollar a week for dinner and a dollar per breakfast by my calculations (carrying the one squared and cubed).

Once a week (minimum), I eat 20 chicken wings for dinner. I’ve been doing that since I was 17. Every week. Depending on what part of the country you live in, they’re known as either ‘Buffalo Wings’ (which isn’t even a thing that exists in reality), ‘Party Wings’ (not sure how that term originated) or ‘Hot Wings’ (which at least makes sense). I typically order wings that are termed ‘Suicide’, ‘Death’, ‘Extra Extra Extra Hot’, or wings accompanied by an asterisked disclaimer advising you to stock toilet paper in your freezer for later that day as well as a silver bullet, Do Not Resuscitate paperwork and a crucifix over the toilet. I’m very fortunate in that I have a digestive system akin to a Billy goat, meaning that I can gnaw on tin cans for fun and profit in my spare time. Actually, it just means that I’ve been grazing on ‘Hot Wings’ for over twenty years now and I still don’t know what heartburn feels like. Trust me when I say that that’s the one positive gene trait I inherited.

I’m at the point with fast food and genetically modified foods where I don’t want to know more than I already do. If I read one more thing about pink goo being injected into reconstituted chicken tenders or wheat that’s sprayed with cancer in a test tube, I feel like I’ll reach a tipping point where I’ll be forced to make a major lifestyle change, and I’m entirely too lazy for that. After stumbling onto a few articles about the organic food movement and about how many non-food stuffs go into a to-go bag, I really don’t want to learn any more. Perhaps my hamburger is hosed off with aborted fetuses before sitting under a heat lamp for a month and then being passed through the drive-through window by a teenager who rinsed his hands in the slop bucket where E. Coli was born and originated from, but ignorance is bliss as far as I’m concerned. And from what I’ve learned about diet sodas, I could be dead before I finish writing this essay.

My diet is deplorable, but that’s an upgrade from downright godawful. I suppose I’m old enough to accept that moderation is not even moderately anywhere near or on my dinner table and that I tried the whole meat vs. carbs Battle For The Belt and I like them too much to root for just one. At my current rate of progress, I should be growing my own bean sprouts and filtering my drinking water through an old gym sock in approximately 128 more years. Fortunately, I practice a habanero hot sauce cleanse once a week. Rectally.

You’re welcome for the visual,
Tom Waters

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The Real Greg Sterlace Show #86

August 2, 2015
Publicity still by producer Richard Wicka.

Publicity still by producer Richard Wicka.

Since Greg and I haven’t had a heated verbal quarry in quite some time (last August, to be precise) and since Greg is coming out with a book about Beatles books (Having Read The Book), it seemed like a good excuse to circle back and spend some time with my pal.  While Big Words Video is more of an exercise in controlled comedy, Greg’s show culture is decidedly more…chaotic.  Every episode feels like there’s a party going on and you’ve got a bird’s eye view of the crucial cocktail scene where someone makes a pivotal faux pas.  I was chewing on a really horrible topical joke that I was going to save for my own show later this month and decided to just drop the bomb on Greg’s lap.  Watch the show for yourself and you can decide which joke that might be:

I’ve been chasing my own deadline all week writing a new rant for this Monday (tomorrow) and making my rounds around town, so it was a hectic few days.  Thanks to Greg for never disappointing, producer Richard Wicka for enabling and supporting the both of us and the rest of the supporting cast of characters (old and new) who round out the party.  I’m sure you’ll see the both of us pair up again real soon…

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Milkie’s On Elmwood: ‘Pull The Other One’

July 30, 2015

Since it’s been awhile (and since I’m at the halfway point where it’s been 3 months since my last reading and 3 months out from the next one), I decided to upload a clip from the Reading & Signing I did last April at Milkie’s On Elmwood in Buffalo on YouTube.  It’s a short rant (‘Pull The Other One’) from my upcoming book Travesty about the Mayan Apocolypse that was supposed to happen in 2012.  We had so much fun that I booked another reading this Fall.  So, without further adeau, let’s roll that clip!:

You may be tired of hearing me say this, but please to Like & Share on YouTube!

I’ll have a brand new essay right here this Monday, so don’t touch that dial!

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode XII: ‘Prodigal’ w/Tom Sartori

July 24, 2015
Publicity still for Big Words Video XII by producer Richard Wicka

Publicity still for Big Words Video XII by producer Richard Wicka

Now that we’re eleven (technically twelve, although one never aired) episodes out, the future for Big Words I Know By Heart looks pretty bright and I can honestly say that I’m really proud of the guests and the shows we did for Season One.  Episode XII with Tom Sartori was a sterling example of the quality, comedy and out-of-the-box interview format I’ve been striving toward.  There was only one problem: Sartori is a really, really nice guy, so I had to go a little easy on him.  This episode signals a new record for the show, having garnished over 100 unique Views in less than 24 hours!  Thanks are in order to Tom Sartori for taking a blind leap of faith and coming onto the show, co-host Brian Faulise for handling his co-hosting duties like a champ and (as always), a heartfelt thank you to producer Richard Wicka for allowing me to barrel into his studio like a bull in a china shop once a month rearranging everything, almost setting the house on fire occassionally, spilling drinks and not putting things back where I found them.  This was a really great episode in a long line of them.  I can’t wait to show you what we have in store for Year Two, but my lips are sealed.

Please take the time to ‘Like’ & ‘Share’ this episode on Youtube and don’t forget to Subscribe for FREE to The Big Words I Know By Heart Channel!

Enjoy,

Tom

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Big Words Video Bonus 12.5: ‘Resonance’ and 12.6: ‘Harmonious

July 24, 2015

We were very fortunate to have producer Richard Wicka’s sound board to plug into for these bonus clips.  The sound that resulted from these sessions is far better than what I could have pulled off with my Sony PJ340.  Sartori’s rendition of Joshua Kadison’s ‘Jessie’ as well as his performance of his own composition ‘This Dream Is On Me’ (previously unreleased!) wer a one-two punch that will give me chills for the foreseeable future.  It was a great way to close out Season One of #BigWordsVideo.  There’s a lot in store for next year, so stay tuned and if you want to receive regular updates when new shows and Bonus clips hit the official Big Words I Know By Heart Channel, then for godsakes SUBSCRIBE for free right now!  I’ll see you all in about a week right here for a brand spanking new essay!

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‘Wardrobe Malfunction’ goes live on BuffaloComedy.com!

June 4, 2015
The artist as a very poorly dressed child.

The artist as a very poorly dressed child.

I’m not going to lie to you, my writing in sobriety has been challenging.  That, or I’ve written about such a variety of topics from so many different angles that I tend to overthink a theme to death while I’m writing it now.  I really want Travesty to be as close to perfect as it can be before it’s out.  ‘Wardrobe Malfunction’, however, was a fast ditty that was written off the top of my head in one sitting and it was a lot of fun.  There’s plenty to add on to, and in this case I’ll probably noodle around with it before it finds its place inside the book.  This essay is a quick burst intended to make you laugh.  That’s it.  I hope it serves its purpose.  Check it out right here:

Wardrobe Malfunction

I hope you like it.  Between Big Words Video and then chasing deadline a week later with Buffalo Comedy, I could use a break.  Talk to you all next month.

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart X: ‘The Hot Dog Dance’

June 2, 2015

Before producer Richard Wicka and I even started filming the webisodes last August, I booked all of my guests for the first season of the show in an effort to keep the guests balanced and ensure that the show got off to a strong start.  Jon Elston (Episode I) recommended poet and playwright Justin Karcher as someone who would work as a guest for the show and Karcher certainly didn’t disappoint.

Publicity still for Big Words Video X by Richard Wicka.  Pictured (clockwise): Waters, Justin Karcher and co-host Pete.

Publicity still for Big Words Video X by Richard Wicka. Pictured (clockwise): Waters, Justin Karcher and co-host Pete.

Having never met Karcher before, I had no idea what to expect.  While researching the show I was struck by the amount of published work he’d amassed and the distinctive voice he’d forged as a poet.  He’s a very genuine person in a world where sincerity is in short supply.  We had a great time during the filming and a few long discussions before and after the show.  This episode marks a slight departure from the early format of blindsiding guests without giving them much of a breather between questions.  The show is evolving into a goofy comedy show with some very candid responses and a very real organic back and forth.  So ten episodes in, Big Words Video is beginning to grow up a little.  I have a four year plan for this show and I’m very proud of how it’s gone so far.  I hope you feel the same way after watching a few episodes.  You can view Episode X: ‘The Hot Dog Dance’ right HERE:

Please take the time to ‘Like’ the show on YouTube as well as ‘Sharing’ it on any of your various social networking platforms and apps.  Thanks are in order to Justin for delivering on his mystique, Pete for coming to the table with some research of his own and of course producer Richard Wicka for letting me run around his studio like a bull in a china shop.

I’ve been excited about next month’s guest since August, but why spoil the surprise now?

We’ll see you on the other side of the screen in a month,

Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode IX: ‘Woman Of Many Hats’

April 10, 2015

Publicity Still for Episode IX by Richard Wicka

This is really shaping up to be a solid first season!  I had novelist and longtime pal Diane Meholick (Switch In Time, Painting Katherine, Buffalo Stories) booked for Episode IX and she did not disappoint.  She’s charming, charismatic, funny and extremely talented and she made for a dynamite guest on the show.  Our banter was natural, the flow of the show was spot on and Co-Host Diabetes Dave’s deadpan cynical sense of humor rounded out this installment nicely.  Here is your synopsis:

Tom and novelist Diane Meholick discuss time travel, tossed salads and the federal deficit.  Diabetes Dave takes the brunt of Tom’s abuse.

Thanks are in order to producer Richard Wicka, the lovely and talented Diane Meholick and Diabetes Dave for another solid episode.  Kindly SUBSCRIBE to the show to receive free updates when new episodes hit and dont forget to ‘Like’ the video and ‘Share’ on all of your social media platforms and devices!  There are a lot of laughs packed into this episode, so don’t miss out!

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Thoughts On The Big Words Video Bonus

April 10, 2015

Before producer Richard Wicka and I even started filming the video installments for Big Words I Know By Heart for YouTube and Time Warner Cable, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do with each show and even for the next four years with the show.  I thought it would be neat to have a companion clip for every studio episode to showcase each guest’s talents and balance out the comedic insanity of each episode with a bonus clip.  For the first eight episodes I really didn’t have the technology (or the equipment) to implement something like that outside of the studio.  Now I do.

Before we filmed the studio show (a week before Episode IX) novelist Diane Meholick and I met at her home in Niagara Falls to film some super-sized compendium clips with exerpts from all of her books.  As a result, there are not one, not two, but THREE segments that compliment Episode IX.  You can view them all below.  As always, please take a second to ‘Like’ & ‘Share’ the videos.  If you’d like to receive updates when new episodes come out you can SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube account and even SUBSCRIBE to the Big Words I Know By Heart Channel.  Enjoy!

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ArtVoice’s ‘Best Of Buffalo’ Polls are now OPEN!

March 22, 2015

image

Hey all,

ArtVoice’s prestigious and king-making ‘Best Of Buffalo’ ballots are now open.  Please take the time to register and vote for Yours Truly as well as any and all friends of my show.  You can sign up and vote right HERE:

ArtVoice Best Of Buffalo

…and here are my recommendations, talented people and loyal friends of #BigWordsVideo.  As long as you have an email address, you’re eligible to vote.  This is a really big deal for a lot of these people, so please take the time to vote.

Best Website: BuffaloComedy.com
Best Poet: Marina Blitshteyn
Best Local Writer: Tom Waters
Best Photographer: Nancy Parisi
Best Video Artist/Filmmaker: Emil Novak Sr.
Best Burlesque Performer: The Stripteasers
Best Standup Comic: Jameel Key
Best Movie Theater: North Park
Best Jazz Musician: Will Holton
Best Rock/Blues Musician: Tommy Z.
Best Jazz Act: Will Holton
Best Rock Act: Black Widow/Widow Maker
Best Country Act: Blood Money
Best Original Music: Busted Stuff
Best Acoustic Act: Michael Bly Band
Best Local Hip Hop: Art ‘Way Of Life’ Shepard
Best New Band: Folkfaces
Best Open Mic: Wednesday’s At Milkie’s On Elmwood
Best Club DJ: DJ Soma
Best Female Vocalist: Lana Notaro Hergert
Best Male Vocalist: Michael Hund
Best New Restaurant: Hot Mama’s Canteen
Best Chef: Bob Desiderio
Best BBQ: Al-E-Oops
Best Beef On Weck: My Little Margie’s
Best Burger: Grover’s
Best Steak: The Red Osier
Best Ice Cream: Taffy’s
Best Wings: Penora’s
Best Fish Fry: My Little Margie’s
Best Italian For Family Dining: Desiderio’s/Lancaster Ale House
Best Stellar Restaurant Service: Desiderio’s/Lancaster Ale House
Best Bookstore: WNY Book & Arts Center

Happy Voting & Good Luck, Everybody!

Tom

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

March 2, 2015

It's All About The Benjamin

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

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

It’s All About The Benjamin

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

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

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode VII: ‘Lady Business’

February 4, 2015
The one and only 'Dr. Dirty', John Valby.

The one and only ‘Dr. Dirty’, John Valby.

It’s no surprise that John Valby was the perfect guest for my show format.  He’s a talented man with a foul mouth who’s never compromised his art and he’s always given the public what they want: more dirt!  Big Words I Know By Heart Episode VII was a joy to do.  Valby was on the Big Words Radio podcast back in ’09 and this was a nice extension of that interview.  What amazed me about Valby was just how much everyone in Buffalo loves him.  Across the board.  Leading up to the show, every single person that I talked to had a positive Valby story to impart.  He’s one of a kind and we’re lucky to have him.  Enough yakking though, here’s the episode:

If you like the show, please take an extra second to ‘Like’ it on YouTube and feel free to Share the link with your friends.  Going one step further, I now have a ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ CHANNEL on my account (Tom Waters) with the entire history of the show (Bonuses and all) in chronological order.  If you enjoy the show, why not subscribe?

Thanks are in order to Mr. Valby, co-host Lee-Lee and as always, producer Richard Wicka at the Home Of The Future studios.  Season One of Big Words Video is now over halfway complete and it’s just going to get better from here!  Thanks for watching, thanks for sharing and stay tuned, folks!

Tom Waters

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Big Words Video 7.5: ‘Parody’

February 4, 2015

I’ve worked very hard to make the Big Words Video bonus segments more like bookends or complementary segments to the interview shows.  Now that the technology has been upgraded, Big Words Video 7.5 may be the last segment to be filmed on location at The Home Of The Future studios in Buffalo.  At any rate, this clip was a very special one.  Seeing John Valby at ease behind a keyboard and warming up before he launches into a litany of obscenities was really something special.  Here it is:

Please take the time to ‘Like’ the clip and ‘Share’ with all your friend.  In addition, I would encourage you to Subscribe to my YouTube page, where I’ve set up a Big Words I Know By Heart channel in chronological order for everyone’s convenience with all of the episodes thus far along with their matching Bonus clips.  Enjoy!

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‘Time Served’ Goes Live on BuffaloComedy.com

February 2, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Waters

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Big Words Video @The 2014 Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards!

January 24, 2015

On Wednesday this week (January 21st), Night Life Publisher Ed Honeck celebrated his birthday.  The Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards also took place at The Cove in Depew, having been rescheduled due to the Winter Blast or whatever the hell you want to call it that took place last November.  Thanks entirely to Ed (and our long, long, very long history together), Big Words Video had the exclusive rights to the Music & Club Awards.  I was less than happy with the results.

The ceremony and the shows were fantastic.  The artists, performers and bands who volunteered their time so that we could interview them were great.  My co-host Timmy C. was on point as I expected him to be.  The lighting was deplorable, though.  This month I upgraded to a new camera for the new and improved Big Words One Man Mobile Unit (a term you might remember from the podcasting days of yore).  I didn’t get familiar or comfortable with the camera before we started shooting with it.  So in the final analysis, the blame rests on my shoulders.  What we’re left with here is a shoddy end product.  Clips 1-3 are passable by amateur video standards and 4 and 5 are just downright awful where lighting is concerned.

I spent the better part of a day uploading, tagging and scripting the clips and grappled with whether or not I should post them for the public at all and the decision I came to was this: post the videos warts and all.  Big Words Radio went through the same growing pains in 2008 so it shouldn’t have come as any surprise that I went through the same thing again.  I didn’t learn from history so I was doomed to repeat it, end of story.  I’ll do better next time, sound good?

Here’s your breakdown for the clips which were uploaded in chronological order:

Clip 1: Lana from Black Widow

Clip 2: Jack McArdle from 12 Pack Jack

Clip 3: Vid from Nerds Gone Wild

Clip 4: Busted Stuff

Clip 5: Tommy Z. & Damone Johnson

I owe a huge debt of thanks to Ed Honeck, all of the artists who participated and the staff and proprietors of The Cove for giving us free reign throughout the building.  If there’s one thing I realized at the awards it was that I’ve been out of the game for so long that I don’t recognize most (if any) of the newer players in the Buffalo music industry.  Black Widow is an institution.  Tommy Z. is an institution.  Busted Stuff just took home their 6th award in a row and I’ve loved 12 Pack Jack since the first time I saw them at Double D’s Queen City Grill some 7 years ago.  Get the picture?

Big Words Video will be back for the next ceremony for more clips, more guests and a better battle plan.  As for these five videos, please take the time to Like & Share as always.  If you really want to be my best friend, ‘Subscribe’ and keep yourself up to date with all things #BigWordsVideo.  And yes, we came for the buffet.

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode VI: Reanimating Dead Flesh

January 14, 2015

Publicity still courtesy of Richard WickaThese sessions are getting to be TOO much fun!  As I told guest Emil Novak after taping the show, I can tell my guest was great when there are still a handful of questions left on the table.  Emil was a real prize fighter; a good sport with a great sense of humor who rolled with the punches.  Here is your synopsis:

Big Words I Know By Heart Episode VI: ‘Reanimating Dead Flesh’

Tom talks to Buffalo producer and jack of all trades Emil Novak Sr. (Buffalo Nickel Productions, Queen City Books) about the impending release of his film ‘Frankenstein’s Patchwork Monster’, a new idea for a syndicated strip and the technological probability of resuscitating dead flesh.  Mark McElligott gets the works in the Co-Host Hot Seat.

You can view Episode VI right HERE:

Please take a moment to Like the video & Share it!

Thanks are in order to producer Richard Wicka, Emil, actor Bill Kennedy for bringing Big Words Video 6.5 (below) to life and returning champion Mark McElligott for being on the receiving end of all my abuse.

#BigWordsVideo will be at the Buffalo Night Life Music & Club Awards next week, so I’ll talk to you all real soon!

Tom

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Big Words Video 6.5: ‘Recitation’

January 14, 2015

The Bonus Clips continue to entertain and surprise me.  While I hold the reins pretty tightly for the actual show episodes, my guests are encouraged to do whatever they like for the companion videos.  Emil Novak Sr. opted to perform a script reading for ‘Frankenstein’s Patchwork Monster’ with actor Bill Kennedy.  The result was intimate and intriguing.  Viewers can see how Bill and Emil breathe new life into the Frankenstein lexicon and their back-and-forth banter gives us all a behind-the-scenes look at the cameraderie on set for the film.  As always, please take the time to click the ‘Like’ icon on YouTube and feel free to Share the clip.  Enjoy!

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

January 7, 2015

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

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

Milkie’s On Elmwood 522 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo

(716)882-5881 Admission is free.

Signed first edition books available from $15.

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

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

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

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

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‘Bat To The Future’ Appears on BuffaloComedy.com

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

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

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

Bat To The Future

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

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

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

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

See you in the funny papers,

Tom

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New Year, New Deal

January 1, 2015

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

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

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

The Big Words I Know By Heart RadioHour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

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

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

Starting 2015 with a bang,
Tom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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Big Words Video Episode V: ‘Love Stocking’

December 19, 2014

Big Words Video V Publicity Shot

Yikes!

Some times when I finish a show I wonder if I’ve gone too far for the sake of envelope-pushing comedy.  I try to create a microcosm where political correctness not only doesn’t exist, but a world where it never happened in the first place.  I come from the school of Don Rickles, Lenny Bruce and yes, Andrew Dice Clay, where you should be able to make fun of anyone at any time for any thing for the sake of a good laugh.  So in the end, I hope the answer is that I’ve gone ‘just far enough’.

With that out of the way, Big Words Video V was a rollicking riot with dynamic duo Busted Stuff and old pal Buffalo Charlie in the co-host hot seat.  Here is your synopsis:

Big Words I Know By Heart Episode V: ‘Love Stocking’Tom talks to 4-time Buffalo Music Award-Winning Duo Busted Stuff about the gift of divorce, Harvey Weinstein, Kwanza and the square root of a bucket of ass.

Here is Episode V:

 

I would like to think by this point that most viewers are indoctrinated into this brand of humor.  If not, too bad.  Thanks are in order to Dave and Cynthia for dodging all of the interview shrapnel laid at their feet, Buffalo Charlie for weathering out the Big Words Poltergeist and to Producer Richard Wicka for tolerating my never-ending seat rearrangements in the studio.

As always, please take the time to Watch, Like & Share on YouTube.  Also, please take the time to watch Busted Stuff’s amazing performance in the bonus episode, Big Words Video 5.5 (link right below this post).

I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday no matter what that holiday may be!  I’ll talk to you all in a month, maybe sooner…

Merry Xmas,

Tom

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Big Words Video 5.5: Serenade

December 19, 2014

This was a really phenomenal Big Words Video Bonus compliments of Dave and Cynthia from Busted Stuff.  It’s no accident that they’ve won Best Rock Duo at the Buffalo Music & Club Awards for five years running.  They performed a live rendition of their original song ‘Pray To Rain’ from their album Bitter Cold that gave me goosebumps.

This is the first time I shot the bonus using YouTube’s Capture app. It allowed me to shoot in widescreen in 1080p and the upload time was much faster than what I’ve been accustomed to with iMovie.  Please take the time to Watch, Like and Share on YouTube.  A big thanks goes out to Busted Stuff for such a powerful performance!  Enjoy!

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Striking Gold At The WNY Book & Arts Center

December 7, 2014

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

Sharing the Buffalove (ugh…),

Tom Waters

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

December 2, 2014

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

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

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

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

Thanks,
Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode IV: ‘Pudding Pops and (You Guessed It) Michael Hund

November 26, 2014

 

Promotional shot for Big Words Video Episode IV by Richard Wicka.

Promotional shot for Big Words Video Episode IV by Richard Wicka.

Recording and producing these shows is entirely too much fun!

For Episode IV of Big Words Video I finally (after years of nagging him) got Night Life Publisher Ed Honeck into the studio.  If you locked the two of us into a room together for a weekend, we would still be talking when you opened the door on the following Monday.  Ed is a dear friend who helped me get my start in the world of Buffalo journalism way back in the year 2000 and we’ve been busy ever since.  A half an hour only gave us the opportunity to chip away at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to clubs, strip clubs, bars, bands, musicians, music awards, newspapers and the people who run them.  As a matter of fact, I think between myself, Ed and Big Words Video Producer Richard Wicka, we probably know (or have met) just about everyone in Buffalo.  Here is your synopsis:

Big Words I Know By Heart Episode IV: ‘Pudding Pops and (You Guessed It) Michael Hund

Tom spends the remainder of ‘Snow-vember’ (sans co-host) with Night Life Magazine publisher Ed Honeck to discuss the impending Music & Club Awards, musicians, strippers and something or other about a town called Ferguson.

As always, please take the time to ‘Like’ (on YouTube) and ‘Share’ the episode (on YouTube).

Thanks are (as always) in order to Richard Wicka and esteemed guest Ed Honeck.  The last minute no-show of my co-host didn’t slow us down one bit.  Award-winning band Busted Stuff are up on deck for Episode V in December!  Stay tuned, folks!

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Big Words Video 4.5: Boobs Gone By

November 26, 2014

Synopsis: Tom and Night Life Publisher Ed Honeck expound on Thanksgiving Eve in Buffalo as well as a brief history of strip clubs.

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

November 18, 2014

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

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

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

November 4, 2014

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week!

Tom

 

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

October 25, 2014

image

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Tom

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Big Words Video 3.5: Oratory

October 25, 2014

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

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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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New Reading & Signing Announced and The Start Of A Beautiful Friendship…

September 29, 2014

At the risk of going all Dr. Seuss on you, I’ve got Bombshell 1 and Bombshell 2. It’s a busy day for announcements!
Bombshell 1 is that I’ll be doing my first reading and signing in almost three years in November. Here are the pertinent details:

Slapstick & Superego: rants and scathing social commentary by Tom Waters (2009, Doubt It Publishing)

Slapstick & Superego: rants and scathing social commentary by Tom Waters (2009, Doubt It Publishing)

Reading & Signing w/author Tom Waters

Date/Time:
Monday, November 17th from 8-10 p.m.

Location:
Hot Mama’s Canteen
12 Military Rd.
Buffalo, NY
14027
(716-783-8222

The owners tell me there may or may not be accompanying live music, so I’ll let you know if that happens. They’re a newer restaurant with a really cool pinup/rockabilly sort of vibe/decor/staff and they’re already getting a great reputation for good (and spicy) food, so I’m looking forward to this one. I’ll be selling and signing the very limited editions of Icarus On The Mend for $50. Once again, there are only ever going to be 50 copies in existence for this hardcover. If you want one, you should probably head on out for this one. I’ll also have copies of my other books starting at $15. I usually give a discount if you’re getting multiple books. So that’s Bombshell 1.

Bombshell 2 is this: I’ve been talking to Kristy Rock (the editor in chief) at http://www.BuffaloComedy.com for the last week or two. She’s got a sharp site with a solid focus on all things comedy in and around Buffalo. Not to mince words, but I’ve always identified with the term comedy versus humor when it comes to my books or anything else. I’m going to be contributing to BuffaloComedy.com for the foreseeable future. Want to read a new essay? Sure you do! You can check out ‘Breaking Dad’ (an excerpt from the upcoming book Travesty) right here (just follow the bouncing link):

Breaking Dad

As always, please take the time to ‘Share’ and ‘Like’ and all of that other fun stuff. That’s enough big news for one day. There’ll be more next week.

See you in the funny papers,
Tom

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode II: BJs Off TheTable

September 25, 2014

Whew!

Another new episode of Big Words Video is in the can.  I was a little under the weather (having battled a cold for the last two weeks), but the results are pretty damned funny.  Guest Kyle Kaczmarczyk and co-host Jenny O were a mismatched pair made in broadcasting heaven.  I’m not really sure how or why the show wound up in Black and White (that wasn’t intentional), but we’ll chalk that up to the Big Words Poltergeist.  Methinks that producer Richard Wicka may have done it on purpose in preproduction.

Here’s your synopsis:

Tom hunkers down with New York Times bestselling writer/artist Kyle Kaczmarczyk  (Fubar, Igor: Occult Detective, The Misadventures Of Silent Boy) about adolescent bathing, prenups, The New New 52 and other shameful joys.  Co-host Jenny O. shows concern about being dropped from Facebook.

Please watch the newest episode here:

PLEASE take the time to click on the link, watch the show, ‘Like’ the show and Share with your friends as early and often as possible.  Word of mouth is everything.

Thanks are in order to Kyle, Jenny and producer Richard Wicka for a great ‘webisode’.  I’ll be back on the attack in a month with an unexpected guest and an ‘interesting’ co-host!

Thanks!

Tom

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Big Words Video 2.5: Points Of Articulation

September 25, 2014

The bonus segments are turning into off-the-cuff guerilla film clips.

Much like the podcast, I have faith that the show format(s) will evolve with every ‘webisode’.  For this bonus clip, Kyle Kaczmarczyk and myself thought it would be fun to let our action figure avatars do the talking.  We continued the interview while playing make-belive.  Please take the time to click on the link here:

Also, please take the time to ‘Like’ each clip and ‘Share’ ad infinitum.  This segment was filmed in 1080 High Definition, which was totally unnecessary considering the backdrop, but perhaps funnier within the context.

Enjoy!

Tom

 

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode II (& 2.5) with Kyle Kaczmarczyk & Twitter Modifications…

September 21, 2014

The Misadventures Of Silent Boy by Kyle KaczmarczykHey all,

We’re only a few days away from filming Big Words I Know By Heart Episode II (and 2.5, respectively) on ‘the Youtubes’.  The first episode was so much fun that I can’t wait to get back into the studio.  My guest this time around will be New York Times best-selling comic book writer/artist Kyle Kaczmarczyk (Fubar, The Red Eye, The Misadventures Of Silent Boy, Igor: Occult Detective and many other titles).  Kyle and I have a long history together.  He was around for the first season of the Big Words podcast and he’s accomplished quite a bit since then.

My co-host will be Jenny O., who’s practically a sister to me.  This will be her first time on the show and I can guarantee you that she’s going to be hilarious.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), she’s exactly like me, but female.  So (in a word), she’s completely insane.  It should be a blast.

I’ll post the link as soon as both shows are up.  Word of mouth is everything, so please be sure to Like, Share and Comment.  If you haven’t seen Episode I (and 1.5) yet with guest Jon Elston, feel free to click on the Big Words Video Links in the ‘Links’ section to the right of this post on the Home Page.

On a side note, my Twitter account is now Private for reasons that are really nobody’s business but my own.  You are welcome to follow me @tomfoolery444, but again, you will have to request access in order to follow my Tweets.

Talk to you soon!

Tom

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Thoughts on a Gone Girl

September 12, 2014

Gone Girl Teaser Poster
I’ve been fascinated with director David Fincher since his shocking feature film debut with SE7EN (1995). Alien 3 (1992) doesn’t really count, because Fox retained final cut and, in doing so, butchered the film. This is well documented and Fincher has voiced his disgust with it’s production in more than one interview. Since the, he has failed to disappoint. His filmography (The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) is (in my mind) flawless. He endures as my favorite director, and I feel that he is the Alfred Hitchcock of my generation.
I’ve always wanted to write a critical analysis on his life and work, but have a sneaking suspicion that it would break me. Having written a critique about the life and work of Bret Easton Ellis (which was included in the publication of If They Can’t Take A Joke, 2007), I realize that I have an obsessive and meticulous tendency to throw myself into research work completely. That, and although it may be morbid, I would rather praise Fincher’s complete body of work than appraise a filmography that is always already in progress. I am such an ardent supporter of Fincher’s creative endeavors that I named my son Benjamin after The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
On October 3rd, Fincher’s Gone Girl opens in theaters starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn. I just finished the book and it’s an intriguing contemplation on the identities we present when we start romantic relationships versus our actual identities, which bleed through over time. The book is about the disintegration of a five year marriage followed by the abduction and/or possible murder of character Nick Dunne’s wife Amy Elliot Dunne. What follows is a suspenseful unraveling of media aggression, police procedure, public relations, predatory litigation and premeditated character assassination. I’d rather not get into spoilers for the sake of readers, but the conclusion was silly and unsatisfying. It didn’t seem faithful to the characters. Luckily, it’s rumored that Flynn (who also wrote the screenplay adaptation) changed the ending for the screen version.
I look forward to Gone Girl with eager anticipation. While many film buffs look down their nose at The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and/or Panic Room, I don’t share their opinion. It should also be noted that Fincher recently executive produced and directed the first two episodes of Netflix’s popular original series House Of Cards (starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright). Notorious for filming multiple takes to find the best organic and natural scene for every film, Fincher is a relentless perfectionist. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

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Dennis McDougal’s Dylan & “Idiot Wind” Lyrics

September 8, 2014

Robert Zimmerman, a.k.a. Bob Dylan

I just finished Dennis McDougal’s  Dylan (2014), a brilliant new biography about, well, Bob Dylan.  In addition to being thoroughly researched and meticulously documented, it gave me a new appreciation for the artist, the man and the mystery shrouding his personal life.  Some artists just aren’t as candid about their lives as others, and Dylan himself is notorious for misdirection, half-fictions and flat-out lies.

I was especially fascinated by the production anecdotes behind Blood On The Tracks, which author McDougal claimed to be one of the very first breakup albums in the history of rock and roll.  Dylan was so intent on making sure that the album was perfect that (after re-shuffling the track order), he scrapped half of the songs and re-recorded them weeks before its release.  Many Dylan fans consider the album a return to form for the first time since his famous motorcycle accident in 1966.

I’ve always loved Blood On The Tracks.  As an album, it took you on a journey from start to finish.  Sadly (in this post-iTunes era), the concept of a thematic album is a thing of the past.  Out of a newfound appreciation for the album, I thought I’d share the lyrics for one of my top 5 all-time favorite Dylan songs, “Idiot Wind” from Blood On The Tracks: 

Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out but when they will I can only guess.
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy,
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me.
I can’t help it if I’m lucky.

People see me all the time and they just can’t remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts.
Even you, yesterday you had to ask me where it was at,
I couldn’t believe after all these years, you didn’t know me better than that
Sweet lady.

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth,
Blowing down the back roads headin’ south.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You’re an idiot, babe.
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I ran into the fortune-teller, who said beware of lightning that might strike
I haven’t known peace and quiet for so long I can’t remember what it’s like.
There’s a lone soldier on the cross, smoke pourin’ out of a boxcar door,
You didn’t know it, you didn’t think it could be done, in the final end he won the wars
After losin’ every battle.

I woke up on the roadside, daydreamin’ ’bout the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare shoot through my head and are makin’ me see stars.
You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies.
One day you’ll be in the ditch, flies buzzin’ around your eyes,
Blood on your saddle.

Idiot wind, blowing through the flowers on your tomb,
Blowing through the curtains in your room.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You’re an idiot, babe.
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn’t enough to change my heart.
Now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped,
What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good, you’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom.

I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can’t remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed, your eyes
Don’t look into mine.
The priest wore black on the seventh day and sat stone-faced while the building
Burned.
I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees, while the springtime
Turned Slowly into autumn.

Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull,
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You’re an idiot, babe.
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I can’t feel you anymore, I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishin’ I was somebody else instead.
Down the highway, down the tracks, down the road to ecstasy,
I followed you beneath the stars, hounded by your memory
And all your ragin’ glory.

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I’m finally free,
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me.
You’ll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above,
And I’ll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love,
And it makes me feel so sorry.

Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats,
Blowing through the letters that we wrote.
Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves,
We’re idiots, babe.
It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned,
Tom

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

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

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

What a rush!  

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

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

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

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

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

August 23, 2014

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

Big Words Video 1.5: The Jon Elston Ice Bucket Challenge

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

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Travesty Back On Track, Icarus In A Holding Pattern…

August 13, 2014

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

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

See you all in three days time,
Tom Waters

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

August 7, 2014

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

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

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

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

Yours very truly, Tom Waters
Twitter: @tomfoolery444

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

August 4, 2014

Big Words Warhol Fan Pic by Marisa DillingerHey all,

All my life I’ve been terrified of change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what now?

It’s time to change it up a bit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Waters

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Auto Bio, Twitterverse & Mr. Sterlace Approaching…

July 30, 2014

Okay…

So the last time I posted with any regularity, Icarus On The Mend was about to launch. I did a limited print run of 50 hardcover copies at $50 a pop.  There are still copies available for those interested.  My intention (eventually) is to launch a two volume softcover set of the autobiography, but the limited edition hardcovers have to move first.  This is mostly my fault as I held a poorly promoted launch event and then did absolutely nothing afterward.  If you would like a copy (by hand or by mail) you can contact me at: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com.  I also have a Twitter now.  And an Instagram.  Half of you may be overjoyed to hear that and the other half are most likely repulsed.  It’s a brave new world.

We live in a world of constant and instantaneous gratification and/or promotion.  Since I’ll be promoting something new soon, I’m hopping on board.  If you’re inclined to ‘The Twitter’, you can follow me at: @tomfoolery444.  I also have an Instagram: ‘tomfoolery444’.

So what am I going to be promoting?  None of your business!  Not yet, anyway.  Let’s  make it through the Greg Sterlace Show fiasco first on Time Warner (not bloody likely) and ‘the Youtubes’.  The name of his new show is ‘Sterlace & Saracki’.  Dial it up on your Youtubes.  I’m sure it’s a riot.  We film this Saturday.  Since it’s a visual medium, I decided to eschew the goatee that I’ve had for the better part of the last twenty years.  New and Improved Tom, New and Improved Look.  And yes, I also have five points of articulation along with Kung Fu Grip.  Picture Enclosed.

Talk to you sooner than you think,

Tom Waters

This is my giant head.  If you need a more lengthy explanation, you're an idiot.

This is my giant head. If you need a more lengthy explanation, you’re an idiot.


 

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A Return Of Sorts To The Greg Sterlace Show…Things Have Changed

July 27, 2014

I realize that it’s been a long time in blog years since I’ve posted. Well a lot has happened in my personal life in the last nine months. I’ll get to that shortly…
Next week I’ll be appearing on Greg Sterlace’s new talk show at Richard Wicka’s Home Of The Future Studio in West Seneca. His live action show appears on Time Warner Cable as well as ‘the Youtubes’. Those of you who have followed my misadventures may remember that the last time I appeared on his show, I made a joke so outrageous that the episode was banned from public broadcast at the last minute. There’s no telling what sort of trouble and mayhem may occur this time, but Richard assures me that YouTubes standards and practices are much more lenient than Time Warner’s. I’ll throw a link up for all of you next week. Sterlace is back in Buffalo where he belongs and it’ll be nice to see him, his wife Paula and Richard in one fell swoop.
I’m sad to report that Mevio.com, the site that hosted the entire episodic run of The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour, has folded. This means (unfortunately) that the bulk of that show has disappeared from the SuperInformation Highway forever. If you still have older episodes on your ‘Itunes’, you may want to hang onto them, because for the time being, I have no plans to host the show elsewhere. You can still listen to a handful of the final episodes at: http://www.thinktwiceradio.com.
As for my personal life, I’ve been going through a divorce since November of last year. My son Benjamin is now fourteen months old. I’ve also stopped drinking, which may come as a shock to many of you. A lot has changed. I’ve changed more in the last eight months than I have in the last twenty years.
The good news is that my sense of humor has returned and it’s sharper than it’s ever been. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my penchant for creativity will fit into my new lifestyle, if it fits at all, and how to implement a creative outlet without reverting into the vindictive, egotistical maniac that I’ve portrayed so well for the last ten or so odd years.
I don’t have an answer to that question yet, but I’m working on it. Just because I’m working on becoming a better person doesn’t mean that comedy has become extinct in this brave new world.
I may ramp up my persona and magnify it despite the kinder, gentler person I’ve become. I might try NOT to do that thing where I gain some momentum as a writer or a broadcaster and somehow manage to piss everyone off and ruin everything in the process. Time will tell. Whatever the case, I do not regret the past nor do I wish to shut the door on it.
Stay tuned. Things are about to get interesting again. America is all about second acts and second chances and the curtain hasn’t even gone up yet. The intermission is almost over and the show will resume shortly.

Sincerely,
Tom Waters

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

July 26, 2013

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

Sharp!

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

July 24, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Waters

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

                

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

July 12, 2013

icarus cover

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Newborn

May 10, 2013

5/9/2013, 9:46 P.M.: Benjamin Waters, 6 pounds, 6 ounces and nineteen inches long. We’ve never been so happy and so exhausted at the same time. After an almost fourteen hour labor at Sister’s Hospital, I cried more than the baby in the OR. The nurses told me they love that because it’s the sign of a good father. A slush pile of pictures are on the way!

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Big Words Radio: Gianni Mazia’s On Main-One From The Vault

March 13, 2013

While I take a long hiatus from the radio show, here’s one from the vault dating all the way back to 2009.

Gianni Mazia’s On Main: One From The Vault

In an aborted two parter from 2009 Tom interviews Rob Schofield from Mazia’s Pizza in Clarence about the new diabolical changes underway.  Sexy Nicole takes advantage and rips on Tom’s ‘peninsula’.

Listen right up at:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

And as always, you can subscribe to all 100+ episodes for free by searching ‘Big Words Radio’ on “The Itunes”.

Enjoy!

Tom Waters

 

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Death & Other Amusements

November 1, 2012

Getting old is bullshit and I’m roundly opposed to it. 

 

In the grand scheme of things, I’m halfway dead.  At 35 (with my current diet, predisposed life span based on the hereditary arc of your average manic depressive and the fact that I haven’t had a physical conducted since my college entrance exam), there are more aspects to my mental and physical well being closing their doors rather than setting up for new business.  The first half of my lifetime has been misspent drinking like a fish, smoking like a coal miner with half a brain and a full pension and eating like royalty from the Dark Ages.  I’m actually gnawing on a turkey leg as I write this while smoking a cigar on the opposite side of my mouth after doing a round of shots this morning.  My willful disregard for any of the natural laws of nutrition is catching up to me and without a third act of repentance after a massive wellness wakeup call, the odds are strong that I’ll drop dead of a coronary within the next ten years.  It’s always a good idea to discuss death when dabbling in comedy.  Death and humor blend with each other like chocolate and impotency.  It’s an unusual combination that’s often incredibly disappointing.   

Here’s what you have to look forward to: Hair loss, your body falling apart and a sleep schedule that’s conducive to psychosis or a career in the Marines among other amusing maladies.  Twenty years ago I wrote about the bizarre onset of puberty and everything that a young man could look forward to in terms of hair growth.  Breaking news bulletin: I am no longer young.  In another twenty years I’ll be on the early end of retirement age while in all actuality I’ll be dead.  Did I mention the comedy of death yet?  If I didn’t, it’s in the last sentence. 

Would you like to wake up at five in the morning because you have the bladder of a small toy poodle without the ability to go back to sleep?  Would you like to wake up six hours after you went to bed because you have a biological clock that kicks you out of bed at a predetermined time regardless of what time you turned in?  Are you looking forward to getting up no matter how exhausted you are because the fluttering wings of a housefly stirred you out of your fitful slumber?  If you answered yes, hell to the no or absolutely not to any or all of these questions, it’s going to happen anyway once you stumble onto the back half of your life. 

People with kids tell me that you won’t get any sleep for the first two years of your child’s life and I wonder how (and if) that will be any different compared to my current sleep schedule.  If it’s not a car door slamming three blocks away at sunrise it’s the urgent need to piss my brains out during the first occurrence of a R.E.M. cycle throughout the course of the morning.  Once I’m up, that’s it, I’m staying up.  After taking a leak I start funneling coffee into my gullet and chain smoking at the computer.  My wife wonders why I’m irritable by the time she rolls out of bed three hours later and I’ve already subsequently demolished a pot of coffee and a pack of cigarettes.  With that sort of breakfast she’s lucky I’m not foaming at the mouth and hell bent on jousting with the mailman at ten paces.

Coffee kicks my ass now.  If I have a cup after five p.m. I can count on staying up until two or three in the morning.  If I drink ice cream after eight o’clock I become incredibly gassy.  I don’t think I’m lactose intolerant but my body says otherwise when it comes to ice cream.  My constitution could be faulty thanks largely to the fact that I’ve eaten suicide wings no less than once a week for the last twenty years.  When (not if) my asshole falls out of my body and crawls into a nearby sewage drain I’ll need a custom made cast iron colostomy bag.  My ongoing diet would make Jack Lalanne vomit blood after two snacks. 

In my early ’20s I had a cute little patch of hair on the back of my head that looked unnecessarily shiny in a mirror.  I also had a high forehead.  Some ten years later that tiny peninsula of thinning hair has turned into a bald patch that could easily host a jumbo yarmulke during my Christmas Day outing to an opening matinee and Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet.  The forehead went from a modified widow’s peak to a five-head to a length of skull that you can screen an opening matinee on.  Charlie Brown will be ripping on my hair loss in another five years and I won’t have a comeback for that bald son of a bitch because I’ll be too groggy from sleep loss and the impending coffee-crash that comes with it.  I come from a family tree of high foreheads, but I’ve truly outdone all of the follicle challenged.  It’s a late Indian summer up there and most of the leaves have already left the building.  After nine books and nine accompanying hair dyes (platinum blonde, black, red and green, to name a few), my hair isn’t bouncing back.  If this trend continues I’ll have to shave my head and fasten a throw rug into my skull with concrete-bearing screws just like Elton John.

The good news is that I’m growing more hair outside of my ear lobes, so that offsets some of the bald patches and receding forehead.  I always thought that I’d look handsome once my hair went gray but it’s falling out or failing to regenerate fast than the salt and pepper conversion.  I made the mistake of trying to shave the horizontal inch-long fronds jutting out from ears and ended up spraying blood down my neck.  I told my co-workers a tall tale about our cat jumping up and scratching me on the side of my ear but I’m positive that no one believed me.  Now I just pluck the hairs out with a tweezer after pulling patches of fuzz out of the inside of my nose.  Do you want more hair in your nose and ears instead of on your head?  Of course you don’t.  Good news/bad news: You’re going to get it anyway.  Be careful what you don’t wish for on your worst enemy because biology is a filthy whore of a mistress.  If I make it to 50 I’ll be fashioning a comb-over from the pigtails protruding from my nostrils. 

I never had allergies as a kid, but at the current trend I’ll need an iron lung just to walk outside.  A mild dusting of pollen leaves me sneezing up hunks of glow-stick colored phlegm and a brain that feels like a hot air balloon.  If a mild cold travels through the area I’m on hospice care for three months.  The last time I ate frozen fish my ass turned into a fire hydrant and I was funneling every fluid in my body out of my mouth and into the bath tub at the same time for three days.  Would you like to know more about my bowel regularity?  Then log in this instant to: www.tomsgoing.org.  Join the other five million subscribers in ongoing chat sessions, photo albums and the increasingly popular creamed corn and cocktail peanut arcade game!

Other assorted things you can look forward to for those of you playing the home version of this game: complete and absolute short term memory loss, diminishing appetite, the metabolism of a sloth with an aberrant thyroid dysfunction and frequent bouts of scurvy, whooping cough, ‘the vapors’ and hysterical blindness.  Mental bonus multipliers include a near-total lack of recall when running into someone you haven’t seen for a few years or more, solidified neuroses on par with an average day in the life for Woody Allen and on-command impotency. 

 

If you’re going to open the show with death, there’s no better follow-up act than impotence.

Has anybody seen my car keys?

Tom ‘hair faux-hawk’ Waters       

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Big Words Radio Episode 70: ‘Rack-tastic’

March 15, 2012

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

 

Episode 70: ‘Rack-tastic’

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

 

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

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

 

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

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

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

 

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

 

Enjoy!

Tom Waters

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A Fond Farewell To Club Watch

February 20, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for all the memories, Buffalo.

Tom Waters

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Doubt It Publishing @The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair

February 17, 2012

The show must go on!

 

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

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

 

Buy our books already!

Tom Waters

Publisher, Author

Doubt It Publishing

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Big Words Radio Episode 69: ‘Common Motherf#$@*ers’

February 9, 2012

To be completely honest, I went into the studio with the preconceived notion that cartoonist Tom Beland was going to be pretty square as a guest.  Having only met radio host Michael Hoffert Jr. before, I also assumed that his soft-spoken demeanor wouldn’t gel well with the spirit of Big Words Radio.  You know what they say about assuming.  I was wrong on both counts.  Beland was a riot once he opened up and Mr. Hoffert balanced out my random insanity with a lexicon of rote knowledge about the comics industry as well as a genuine zeal for the art form.  Here is your synopsis:

 

Episode 69: ‘Common Motherf#$@*ers

Tom & Executive Dual Host Michael Hoffert Jr. (‘It Came From The Longbox’) talk with writer/cartoonist Tom Beland (‘True Story, Swear To God’) via ‘The Skype’ about romance, comics, profanity, stand-up comedy and smoking too much weed.

 

-To hear the show on the Think Twice Radio roster, click your way over to:

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

 

-To hear every episode in the history of Big Words Radio including bonus clips, bonus episodes and outtakes, click on:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

-In addition, you can subscribe to Big Words Radio for free on ‘the iTunes’ by searching ‘Big Words Radio’ in Podcasts and selecting the Comedy listing.

 

My apologies and thanks to Tom Beland and Mike Hoffert for assuming the worst only to discover that they brought their A game to the table.  This was a great show and after we taped, I came to the conclusion that it was a great show whether I was a part of it or not.  Tom opened up with some personal information he’s never offered before.  Mike (who’s used to discussing newly released comics rather than talking to their creators) truly shined when he had a chance to talk to one of his heroes.  All I did was insert my usual brand of insanity into the program.  It was a neat blend of personalities that made for an entertaining listen.

We’re setting our sights for unusual game next month.  Co-host William Dyson (who’s the very definition of bizaare) and myself will be talking to Buffalo rapper Art Shepard/a.k.a. ‘Lex’ about his debut album.  Last year, Big Words Radio got ‘back to its roots’ and I focused more on intriguing guests instead of brand name celebrities with stock responses.  It paid off.  This year, I’ll be getting back to the artists (local and national) who are more deserving of a wider audience.  While the show is erratic and goofy and all over the place most of the time, there is a definitive blueprint that I’m trying to reinforce.

Playing outside the boundaries of the traditional interview remains the framework for a show that’s been anything but formulaic.

Cheers,

Tom

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

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

January 10, 2012

Time to face facts.  Doubt It Publishing cemented the publishing house with Voices From The Herd: An Anthology For Buffalo, NY.  Despite the time involved, anthologies are an easy project to attract local writers.  The project was a colossal success and the proceeds that the book has earned for The Just Buffalo Literary Center will resonate for years to come.

Lightning struck twice when heretofore unknown Mark McElligott sent his manuscript along for Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind, which was easily one of the funniest books I’ve read in fifteen years.  While Mark (and the contents of his book) aren’t exactly family friendly, we found a niche for his talent and his book continues to entertain while finding a new audience.

The open reading submission for 2011 was less than satisfactory.  I’m slightly saddened to announce that there won’t be any Doubt It Publishing Author Of The Year this year because, truth be told, I put all of my eggs in two or three baskets.  Not one, but three promising manuscripts passed my desk that held promise.  One had potential but it wasn’t polished enough.  Another had stellar character development but the author’s needs and requests were unreasonable.  The final project was perfect but the person behind the collection couldn’t commit.

I’ve spent the last ten years interviewing writers to find out what works and what doesn’t.  What behaviors succeed, what personality traits work and which ones don’t.  In the same sense, I’ve spent a lifetime learning what it means to run a successful publishing business.  Many schools in the music business open their doors to anyone willing to collect a paycheck and find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy within a few years.  Other ventures weed out new creative endeavors after a short time and turn to subsidy publishing, choosing only to publish and copyright their own work.

Doubt It Publishing is an ideal.  A publishing house that was built to foster new, subversive and talented Buffalo authors and save them from the pitfalls and aggravations that I’ve gone through for the last ten years.  This won’t be a vanity house and it won’t be a catch-all for any author coming down the pike.  It has to be an imprint that welcomes those of you promising enough to make the cut who are willing to put as much work into promoting your book as you did writing it.

2012 is a wash.  The Doubt It Publishing docket for this year has failed.  So we grow, evolve and adapt.  Here’s the decision moving forward: The Call For Submissions will be year round from here on out.  As the Publisher and Editor In Chief, I will no longer depend on any one writer or any one manuscript.  There will no longer be a six month reading period.  If you have a promising work and you want to publish and promote it next year, I want to work with you.  The business model remains.  I’m still looking for one book to work with, but I’m swinging the submission gates wide open.

Tell me what you’ve been working on, Buffalo.  You’ve got all year to do it, and every year from here on out.

Please send your sample chapters, query letters or entire manuscripts to: bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com

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Out With The Old, In With The New

December 29, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sincerely,

Tom Waters            

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‘Notorious’: The Big Words One Man Mobile Unit @The 2011 Buffalo Night Life Music Awards

December 10, 2011

For those of you who weren’t in on it (drum roll please), The Big Words Finale was an elaborate prank that took five months to prepare for.  The joke’s on you, Buffalo!  You didn’t think you’d get rid of me that easily, did you?  Contrary to my cries of woe before the ‘final episode’, new and improved stats on both web sites have revealed that Big Words Radio is tracking at over 3,000 downloads a month.  And for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I had no idea there were so many of you with such a twisted sense of humor, so the show must go on!

Moving on then, co-host Minnick and myself set ourselves loose this week at Page’s Paradise Island for the 2011 Night Life Buffalo Music Awards.  The Big Words Poltergeist struck not once but repeatedly, as the batteries I charged before the show died, we lost a sizeable sound clip with Best Duo Act Busted Stuff and I had a number of headaches posting the show properly on Mevio.  Thankfully all the bugs have been worked out.  Here is your synopsis:

‘Notorious’: The Big Words One Man Mobile Unit @The 2011 Buffalo Night Life Music Awards

Tom and returning co-host/designated driver Kevin Minnick get tanked up during the VIP open bar at Page’s Paradise Island while rubbing elbows with Brian Kahle and his trusty new assistant Rebecca.  0-60 Scott brings the hammer down while The Blues Hounds bring the house down.  The boys find two fantastic new reasons to see Black Widow live, Tom receives an award of his own from Busted Stuff and Michael Hund from Widow Maker says hello.

-To hear the show along with all 100+ episodes including bonus clips, click your way over to:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com.

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

-This episode will also appear later next week at:  http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html

I’d like to thank all of the musicians as well as Brian Kahle for entertaining our questions with a good sense of humor.  I thought we were going to get kicked out last year so it was shocking that we amped up our obnoxiousness and were greeted with open arms.  Thanks are also in order to Ed Honeck from Night Life Magazine and Page’s Paradise Island for allowing us in the door and supplying us with emergency backup batteries.  Thank you also to Kevin Minnick for putting up with my abuse in a public setting for a return tour of duty.

There’s a very big year on the horizon for Big Words Radio.  Cartoonist Tony Millionaire will be coming on the show in January with Atomic Don and award winning musicians Strictly Hip, 100 Proof Justice and Widow Maker are all confirmed.  Dave and Cynthia from Busted Stuff are also discussing an intimate return visit.  Things will only get bigger and better as we continue onward and upward!

Stay tuned,

Tom Waters

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The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour Finale Roast

December 6, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Big Words Finale Bonus Round!

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

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

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

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

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

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

Enjoy,

Tom Waters

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Early Concept Art For Icarus On The Mend by Derek Patrick Evoy

November 20, 2011

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

November 17, 2011

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

 

Episode 67: ‘Tricky Dicks & Pregnant Possibilities’

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

 

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

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

 

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

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

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

 

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

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

 

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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

November 15, 2011

Saying goodbye is a bitch.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Counting down,

Tom

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

November 7, 2011

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

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

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

We look forward to seeing you in December,

Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio Episode 66: ‘Tight Rope’

October 26, 2011

There are some days you just want to forget.  Yesterday was one of them.  After spending the majority of my birthday hungry and alone, I wasn’t exactly at the top of my game for the show.  Here’s your synopsis:

 

Episode 66: ‘Tight Rope’

Tom and co-host Brian Bogucki stammer through an interview with veteran journalist Joel Meadows, the editor in chief at Trip Wire magazine. Tom laments the worst birthday he’s ever had, Joel rolls with the punches and Brian does his best impression of a mime.

 

To hear the show on Think Twice, here’s your direct link:

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

 

To download the episode with a smaller audio file or to listen to bonus episodes and additional clips, click here:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

You can also subscribe to the show on ‘the iTunes’ by searching ‘Big Words Radio’ and clicking on the ‘Comedy’ listing.

 

Thanks are in order to Joel Meadows for rolling with the punches for a show that wasn’t our level best.  Thanks also to Brian Bogucki and (as always) producer Richard Wicka for being on board for this disaster.  We’ve got two more shows left.  Join me next month when I sit down with producer Richard Wicka to figure out how and when the program went so horribly wrong.  After that, we’ve got the big finish in early December.

 

Thanks,

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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Completely Clueless: Duff’s Wings On Dick Road Couldn’t Buy A Clue With A Free Gift Card & A Hundred Bucks

September 9, 2011

Back around November of 2009, Duff’s Wings opened a new location on Dick Rd. in Cheektowaga.  I’d never had their wings but (as an aficionado), people had been telling me about them for years.  You probably know by now how passionate I am about chicken wings.  For the last twenty years my buddy Ron and I have been getting a double of wings every Sunday like clockwork, so when they opened up in Cheektowaga, we decided to try them out.  We fell in love with the sauce and the size of the wings were fantastic.  We ordered them every single Sunday like clockwork.

Flash forward to around June of 2010.  President Obama chose the Dick Rd. location to try out what Buffalo had to offer and the ‘Hottie with a smoking body’ news story was born.  After that, Ron and I never got an accurate order.  For seven straight months beforehand we ordered a double of wings (ten flats with Suicide, ten drums Hot) and they never got it wrong.  After the Obama visit, they couldn’t seem to get anything right.  Both of us adhere to routine, so we kept ordering for another month or so.  Then we gave up.

Every couple of months I get a hankering for their Suicide Sauce and fool myself into thinking that they’ve righted the ship.  They haven’t.  I ordered a double of wings this evening and asked for mostly flats Suicide Hot and Saucy.  I got home and found a single of wings Hot and a single of wings Suicide and they were all Extra Crispy.  Unbelievable.

Most popular franchises are at least consistently mediocre and that’s why they keep branching out.  Duff’s Wings can’t even pull that off.  Duff’s has gotten 100% of my orders wrong since mid-2010.  Not even one order has been correct.  As a bar reviewer for the Buffalo News since 2007, I’ve been conditioned to support local and avoid chains.  Here’s another experience to reinforce it.

Duff’s on Dick Road needs either new management or a staff that knows how to clean out their ears with Q-Tips before they take a phone order.  I’m done with that location, I’m done with their wings and I’m done with the entire franchise.  You’ve fucked up your last order with me.  In the short run, that doesn’t matter since they continue to fill the restaurant with tourists eager to walk in the footsteps of our current president.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that restaurant trends change, and some day people will just stop showing up.  That’s when you learn to depend on your regulars, and if you don’t take care of your regulars, you might as well close your doors.

I look forward to the day that Duff’s closes their doors in Cheektowaga.  They haven’t lifted a finger to go above or beyond and they haven’t even approached the bare minimum of competence where I’m concerned.  In a city full of places that cook chicken wings well along with restaurants that make things the same way every time and actually write an order down and cook it correctly every single time, they’re playing Russian Roulette with the company’s profits.

Buying my wings everywhere else from now on,

Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio Episode 65: ‘Anal Bleaching Changed My Life’

September 8, 2011

While Big Words Radio is winding down for the big farewell in December and I continue to toil away on the autobiography, I find myself more and more nostalgic.  That being said, it was a once in a lifetime treat to have my best friend of over twenty years Ron and our mutual friend and former coworker Mansel on last night for one of the last four or five shows.  Here’s your synopsis:

 

Episode 65: ‘Anal Bleaching Changed My Life’

Tom and his two friends of over 20 years (Ron and Mansel) reminisce about old girlfriends, great asses, getting stoned out of their tree and how Mansel bagged his trophy substitute teacher before the altar.

 

To hear the show in all of its audio glory, click on over to:

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

 

You can also listen to all 95 shows along with bonus clips and out takes at:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

And lest we forget that you can subscribe to the show on ‘the iTunes’ by searching ‘Big Words Radio’ and clicking on the show under the Comedy listing.

 

Greg Sterlace, Paula Wachowiak and Robb Nesbitt also made a surprise (albeit silent) appearance last night in the studio during the taping, so I’d like to thank them as well for showing up during the tail end of the program.

It’s been decided.  I’ll be holding a Finale show on Friday, December 2nd from 6-8 p.m. and rounding up as many former co-hosts as I can so that we can see the show out in style for a good old fashioned roast.  The site hits and downloads just aren’t what they used to be.  Most of you have tuned out, so it’s time for me to move on to something else.  After four years it depresses me that I have to shut down so soon, but it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore.  Despite this, I’ll be following the year out to its natural conclusion.

I’d like to take a moment to thank my producer Richard Wicka for seeing some sort of promise in me that I haven’t fulfilled.  The show got off on the right foot, but somewhere along the line I took things too far and never regained my composure.

I’d also like to thank Ron and Mansel for coming back into the fold before the show finished up.  It meant a lot to me to link back up with some old friends who have known me for so long.

Back in June of 2008 I tried to come up with a comedy show that was extreme.  Something that pushed the envelope and made people laugh uncomfortably and effortlessly.  I guess I tried to hard and that most of Buffalo didn’t get what I was trying to do or didn’t care.  Whatever the case, it’s over.  Four more months and then the fat lady sings.

 

Please tell a friend or share the link to the show so that we can end on a positive note.

 

Have a great week,

Tom

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Big Words Radio Episode 64 ‘Story Of My Flife’ w/ Greg Sterlace

August 25, 2011

Everything comes to an end eventually.  I spoke with my producer Richard Wicka last night after the studio show and my numbers for The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour are grim, so it looks like I’ll be closing the doors on the show by year’s end.  It saddens me to see my audience disappear, but that’s what’s happening.  The good news to that is that I’ll be doing a farewell show in December and I’m welcoming all of my co-hosts back for the opportunity to roast me one final time.  I’m lobbying Rich to see if we can work out a two hour or two episode show for the occasion.  If you’ve ever co-hosted the show, I encourage you to join me in the studio (or over the phone) one final time for a good lambasting.

Last night’s show was spectacular.  Here’s your synopsis:

 

Episode 64: ‘Story Of My Flife’

Returning guest of honor Greg Sterlace is on the receiving end of a whiskey-less Tom while co-host Timmy C goes for the extra point.

 

To hear the show in full audio quality, click here:

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

 

To hear all 94 episodes of Big Words Radio along with the new show, click here:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

You can also subscribe to Big Words Radio for free by searching Big Words Radio on iTunes and clicking on the show listed under Comedy.

 

I’ve got about four more shows and then it’s light’s out on Big Words Radio.  I’m grateful for all of the celebrities, artists, musicians, adult film stars, writers and cartoonists who have brought something fresh to the show.  British journalist Joel Meadows will be calling in for my next studio show in October, so I have that to look forward to as well.

Please listen to the new show and spread the word.  I’m trying to go out on a high note.

 

Sincerely,

Tom Waters

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Poke The Scorpion Publicity Junket Rescheduled For Late October

August 13, 2011

I try to follow my instincts, and my gut tells me that it’s a smarter idea to promote Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick during the actual Scorpio season, which runs from October 23rd through November 21st.  While the book is already out online, it makes more sense to promote it effectively during the boom season for the rest of my tribe, so to speak.  While I’m not superstitious and while I don’t cling to too many pat philosophies, there are too many parallels and far too many coincidences associated with the Scorpio sign that are worth giving tribute to.  The entire book is devoted to the Scorpio mentality along with scorpions as a species.
While my poetry collections make up a very small percentage of my overall revenue, the new book is still worth hitting the road and promoting.  Some people shut down instantaneously when you even mention the word poetry, so they’re not going to even be receptive.  Other people’s ears perk up at the notion of something new and innovative.  Others can be converted given the right circumstances.  That’s the market I’m going after.  It’s my wish to incorporate a few readings, signings and related events along with some old tricks that have worked in the past.  Mark McElligott will be joining me on the journey in Buffalo and beyond.  The Monsters Of Verse will get back into the habit this fall with a few coffee houses and a few bookstores.  I’m entertaining the idea of even doing some guest bartending stints just for the hell of it.
Breathing Room Volume I was wildly successful considering the miniscule hopes I had for it.  Volume II did just okay by comparison, but it was weirder, so that’s okay.  The few people who picked up the first batch of Scorpion books have called it ‘the best poetry book I’ve written so far.’  It may be my last.  Locking into that frame of mind is difficult to do, but I’d be happy to go out on a high note where poetry is concerned.
Please enjoy your summers and free up a few weekends in late October and November.  Poke The Scorpion will be hitting you where it hurts soon enough.  In the mean time, I’ll be crouched in a small dark place waiting to strike.  Like most scorpions.
Thanks for staying tuned,
Tom Waters

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

August 11, 2011

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

 

Episode 63: ‘But We Digress’

 

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

 

Sh*t Show: The Bonus Round

 

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

 

You can listen this instant by clicking over to:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

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

 

Thanks,

Tom Waters

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Big Words Radio Turning Point

July 26, 2011

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

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

 

It’s up to you.

Tom Waters

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Eulogy For Renie (Waters) Ormsby

July 19, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Tom Waters

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‘I Want To Be Oprah’

July 18, 2011

Rather by accident (and because I was glad that they were back), I wound up ‘acting’ in Paula Wachowiak’s new music video ‘I Want To Be Oprah’.  I’m not exactly gung ho on acting, but it was a non-speaking role & the work was easy.  All I had to do was be an asshole, so it wasn’t really acting at all.  You can view the completed video at:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUafzrMKZjE

 

Please click the link & comment accordingly!  Paula & Greg Sterlace did a great job along with Richard Wicka at Think Twice Radio.  I’m glad to have a film credit under my belt since I don’t have any intention of pursuing acting in the foreseeable future.  That’s one more check mark off the Bucket List.

 

Take care,

Tom Waters

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Poke The Scorpion Book Giveaway Contest

July 13, 2011

This month I’ll be giving away three random signed copies of Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick.  What do you have to do to get it?

 

1. ‘Like’ Poke The Scorpion on FB by following this link:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/poke-the-scorpion-with-a-sharp-stick-selected-poems-2008-2011/16130225?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1

 

2. Rate the book on lulu.com.

 

3. Post a link on your Twitter, FB, Google + or any other website you may have.

 

4. Leave  a comment on this post.

 

5. Drop me an email at bigwordsmailbag@yahoo.com with ‘Contest’ in the subject heading.

 

Final deadline is August 1st, 2011.  Whether you live in Buffalo or beyond, I’ll hold a random drawing at the end of July.  If you’re local I’ll hand you a copy at the first scheduled reading or signing for Poke The Scorpion in August.  If you live out of state or in another country, I’ll send you a signed copy out of pocket.  I’d like to launch this book with a bang and I need your help to do it!

 

Game on,

Tom Waters

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‘Sweet Is The Smell Of Success’

July 11, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thanks for being a part of it,

Tom Waters

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

July 1, 2011

Here we go again…

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Tom Waters

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Tom Tweets!

June 28, 2011

For those of you interested in following me on Twitter, my profile name is (you guessed it) ‘tomfoolery4’.  Here’s a quick link to make it easier for everyone, too:

 

http://twitter.com/#!/tomfoolery4

 

I’m committing to one post a day until further notice.  I don’t see what all the fuss is about, but it’s another form of free media that we can all dogpile onto en masse.  With luck, I’ll have an ongoing project up on YouTube by the end of the summer.  More on that if and when it happens…

 

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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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Big Words Radio Episode 62: Auto Erotic Ass Pixelation (w/Brian Kahle)

June 13, 2011

On the playback, I felt that last night’s show with Brian Kahle couldn’t have been any more perfect.  Brian was charming, funny and well-spoken.  John Kindelan was funny, engaging when it was called for and well-spoken.  It was just the right blend of offensiveness, revealing answers and intelligent responses.  If every show was like this one, I’d do it a hell of a lot more often.  I made a conscious decision a year ago to devote one calendar year on the show to booking guests that I had an existing rapport with versus landing national celebrities and wound up somewhere in the middle.  The proof is in the pudding right here.  Here’s your synopsis for Episode 62:

 

Episode 62: Auto Erotic Ass-Pixelation

Tom settles in for a bucket of scotch while he trades industry stories with Buffalo icon Brian Kahle (Magic Marketing) and co-host John Kindelan (theboompage.com).  The boys discuss mustaches, helipads and their enormous financial largesse.

 

To hear the show, click here:

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

 

You can also hear the new show (along with every previous episode and bonus clip) here:

http://www.bigwords.mevio.com

 

I applaud Brian Kahle for his frank and candid discussion as well as his career as a whole.  For a Buffalonian, I couldn’t have any more respect for him as a person.  It was a genuine thrill to be in the same room with two of the biggest marketing influences of my lifetime (Brian and Richard Wicka).  Thanks to both for making this show happen.  Thanks are also in order to John Kindelan for taking the time out to co-host.  He did a bang-up job of rolling with the punches.

I’ve got some entertaining things planned for the next two shows that should prove to be fun for listeners.  You’ll find out more in July.

Thanks for tuning in,

Tom Waters

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Final Wraparound Art For Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick

June 12, 2011

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Cheers & Jeers: Events As They Develop

June 8, 2011

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Race you to next week,

Tom Waters

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Poke The Scorpion With A Sharp Stick Cover Art

June 7, 2011