Writer's Block: Close Call

Accidents happen all the time, and often we walk away miraculously uninjured. What has been your closest call with avoiding serious harm in an accident?
Funny, my brother and I were just discussing this ... I said, "Why aren't we dead?" and he said, "We're not?" When I was a kid, I would stop myself on my bike by running into things. Ditto skiing ... flying down the mountain, going too fast to V-plow to a stop, I would look for the nearest tree and grab hold as I went skiing past. Oftentimes stopping headfirst.

My brother and I were skateboarding, my two cousins were on their bikes. Someone had the brilliant idea to tow my brother and me with rope behind the bikes ... we gained tremendous momentum going downhill, and jumped off our boards simultaneously. Sadly, we both forgot to let go of the ropes ... tumbled down that hill head over heels, landing face first in gravel and dirt, walking away with only a few scratches. I know kids are resilient, but damn. So I wonder again how we managed to survive that, and other even worse instances (like jumping out the upper floor barn window into a pile of pink fertilizer....).

Writer's Block: Word for Word

How many (if any) songs do you know by heart? What are they?
Good question, because I thought *everyone* knew lots of songs by heart. Until a friend once told me he didn't know all the lyrics to one single song. Not even a Christmas carol!

Me? I know all the lyrics to thousands of songs. I have entire albums (yeah, albums) memorized. It's just what I do. :shrugs:

The folks at Stop & Shop – dumber’n a box of rocks?

About a month ago I called their 800# and explained that I was no longer receiving their coupons—the clippable ones that had been sent as one-sheets—and my local store had suggested I call this number. Those coupons had some great deals, often offering freebees and amazing savings.

No problem, I was told. You’re back on the list.

A week later I get mail from them. Not the coupons, but a circular. The newspapery one you can pick up in any supermarket. I thought it was a fluke, so I ignored it. Until it came again. And again. And again. Still no coupons though.

So I left a voicemail at their Customer Service number. No response. I emailed them last week, expressing my dismay at their lack of communication and my lack of coupons.

Now, I don’t know if this happens in cities all over, but in my Queens neighborhood (and when I lived in Brooklyn), supermarket circulars are distributed in bundles in plastic sheets by young men in vans, on bikes, or wheeling around shopping carts. Theses packets are absolutely perfect for slipping on and breaking your neck as you try to exit the building. They also make wonderful mounds of paper mâché dog crap sculpture after it’s rained. Again, they’re the same circulars you pick up upon entering any supermarket in the United States, so they’re essentially a waste of paper and manpower to home deliver them.

Yesterday while on the phone with my friend Amy my intercom starts buzzing, and I ignore it for a while. I’m not expecting company or a delivery, and the neighbors’ kids often ring my buzzer by mistake (right, mistake). When I finally answer, it turns out to be those delivery men. When I told them I didn’t want their circulars—the same ones they leave for free several times a week—they told me the store had said I complained I wasn’t getting my circulars!

They finally went away—only to return and ring the intercom again. And again. And again. Until I’m yelling into the intercom, “I don’t want anything!” They finally got the message, I think. Unless they’re out in the street, circular in hand, waiting for me to leave the building. And someone even called and left a voicemail while I was still talking to Amy. Turned out to be—you guessed it—their dispatcher.

Writer's Block: When I Grow Up

Do you ever do anything now that you swore you would never do when you were younger? What is it?
When I was a kid I promised myself I would NEVER stop listening to new music, that I wouldn't become like my parents or grandparents and complain about "those kids and their music." Well sure enough, I hate listening to the radio unless it's MY music -- classics and oldies (and we're talking 70s and 80s music here!). Depressing. But mention a band or performer from the 90s or 00s and unless they got their start on American Idol, I probably never heard of them. Whippersnappers! ;)

The Bush Administration Homicides

For five years as a researcher for Human Rights Watch and reporter, John Sifton helped investigate homicides resulting from the Bush administration's torture policy. His findings include:

• An estimated 100 detainees have died during interrogations, some who were clearly tortured to death.

• The Bush Justice Department failed to investigate and prosecute alleged murders even when the CIA inspector general referred a case.

• Sifton’s request for specific information on cases was rebuffed by the Bush Justice Department, though it was “familiar with the cases.”

• Attorney General Eric Holder must now decide whether to investigate and prosecute homicides, not just cases of torture.

A simple fact is being overlooked in the Bush-era torture scandal: the number of cases in which detainees have been tortured to death. Abuse did not only involve the high-profile cases of smashing detainees into plywood barriers (“walling”), confinement in coffin-like boxes with insects, sleep deprivation, cold, and waterboarding. To date approximately 100 detainees, including CIA-held detainees, have died during U.S. interrogations, and some are known to have been tortured to death.


  • Current Mood
    angry angry

A commercial I saw recently

That "Charlie the Tuna's Family Reunion: Priceless" commercial is a little unnerving, when you think about it.

Here we have Count Chocula, Mr. Peanut, Chef Boyardee, that stupid Vlasic stork, Charlie the Tuna, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Jolly Green Giant, the Morton’s Salt Girl, Mr. Clean . . . and what are they eating?


Am I the only one who finds this disturbing???? Since when did Charlie go cannibal???

Stoker Nominees

Okay, so I'm late to the party, but I want to offer my congratulations to the nominees. I'm especially Stoked (heh, I know, I know) that a book I had the honor of editing for Dark Hart Press, Lisa Mannetti's The Gentling Box, is a finalist in the First Novel category. Go, Lisa!

This year’s finalists for the Bram Stoker Awards are:

Superior Achievement in a Novel
COFFIN COUNTY by Gary Braunbeck (Leisure Books)
THE REACH by Nate Kenyon (Leisure Books)
DUMA KEY by Stephen King (Scribner)
JOHNNY GRUESOME by Gregory Lamberson (Bad Moon Books/Medallion Press)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
MIDNIGHT ON MOURN STREET by Christopher Conlon (Earthling Publications)
THE GENTLING BOX by Lisa Mannetti (Dark Hart Press)
MONSTER BEHIND THE WHEEL by Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin (Delirium Books)
THE SUICIDE COLLECTORS by David Oppegaard (St. Martin’s Press)
FROZEN BLOOD by Joel A. Sutherland (Lachesis Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
THE SHALLOW END OF THE POOL by Adam-Troy Castro (Creeping Hemlock Press)
MIRANDA by John R. Little (Bad Moon Books)
REDEMPTION ROADSHOW by Weston Ochse (Burning Effigy Press)
THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. ZACH by Gene O’Neill (Bad Moon Books)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
PETRIFIED by Scott Edelman (Desolate Souls)
THE LOST by Sarah Langan (Cemetery Dance Publications)
THE DUDE WHO COLLECTED LOVECRAFT by Nick Mamatas, and Tim Pratt (Chizine)
EVIDENCE OF LOVE IN A CASE OF ABANDONMENT by M. Rickert (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
TURTLE by Lee Thomas (Doorways)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
LIKE A CHINESE TATTOO edited by Bill Breedlove (Dark Arts Books)
HORROR LIBRARY, VOL. 3 edited by R. J. Cavender (Cutting Block Press)
BENEATH THE SURFACE edited by Tim Deal (Shroud Publishing)
UNSPEAKABLE HORROR edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Chad Helder (Dark Scribe Press)

Superior Achievement in a Collection
THE NUMBER 121 TO PENNSYLVANIA by Kealan Patrick Burke (Cemetery Dance Publications)
MAMA’S BOY and Other Dark Tales by Fran Friel (Apex Publications)
JUST AFTER SUNSET by Stephen King (Scribner)
GLEEFULLY MACABRE TALES by Jeff Strand (Delirium Books)

Superior Achievement in Nonfiction
CHEAP SCARES by Gregory Lamberson (McFarland)
ZOMBIE CSU by Jonathan Maberry (Citadel Press)
A HALLOWE’EN ANTHOLOGY by Lisa Morton (McFarland)
THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR by Amy Wallace, Del Howison, and Scott Bradley (HarperCollins)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
THE NIGHTMARE COLLECTION by Bruce Boston (Dark Regions Press)
THE PHANTOM WORLD by Gary William Crawford (Sam’s Dot Publishing)
VIRGIN OF THE APOCALYPSE by Corrine De Winter (Sam’s Dot Publishing)
ATTACK OF THE TWO-HEADED POETRY MONSTER by Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty (Skullvines Press)