Friday, February 25, 2011

Dead With Envy

What's pretty damn rare and has George Romero's name on the cover?  The hardcover Dawn of the Dead book.  I bought my copy around 1980, I believe.  Never even cracked it open until this week.  (I also have a paperback copy of Night of the Living Dead which I have yet to read.) 

When I moved to CA I actually feared this book was lost, and never having ever seen another copy for sale anywhere, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would never get to read it.  As to why I never read it when I bought it, that I can't speak to.  I have plenty of books I haven't gotten around to yet.  Those fears were put to rest, however, when I received a shipment of my stuff that had been in storage back East, and this was on it.  Oh joyous day.

I'm not very far into the book yet, but the opening chapters which detail the chaos surrounding the television station (if you remember the movie, you remember that opening scene quite well) and projects is done remarkably well and adds a lot of light to the characters in Romero's classic film. 

George Romero's name, obviously, is the draw on the cover, but he co-wrote the book with Susanna Sparrow.  Honestly, I can see Sparrow being the one who did most of the work based off Romero's ideas.  I haven't delved into a history of the book, but I'd be surprised if it were the opposite way around.  The book is too tightly focused to be from the mind of a director.

It's too early to tell if the book will hold up as well as the movie does.  I can say that at the time it was written (1978), zombies were not all the rage and I don't think they were all that used in horror fiction.  Romero, as is well documented, changed the way our culture views these walking undead.  Countless people have taken inspiration from him and his creations.  The book can't take that credit, but so far it's turning out to be one hell of a read.

(And for all you horror fans eager to get your hands on this -- no, I'm not selling my copy.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pie, Pie My Darling

I've been reading Pie Any Means Necessary: The Biotic Baking Brigade Cookbook which I got through my Friends of AK Press deal.  Despite the title, this is not a cookbook, it's a history book and activist guideline for how to cut people down to size with a well-timed pie to the face.  As someone who has spent almost his entire life pranking people, I appreciate it as those in power deserve to be pied every once in a while.  (The fact is, many of them need something even more extreme as the decisions they make often effect people's lives in negative ways and I'm a firm believer in an eye for an eye.)

Politicians, newscasters, actors -- nobody is immune from these antics.  To read the first-hand accounts of the pie tossers and how they get by security is nothing short of amazing.  Reading the reasons why they do it makes me think their targets should be thankful they came armed only with pies and an agenda and not a Luger.  From what I see, the people pied deserve it.  When you press for clearcutting forests or want states to be get rid of libraries and give those tax dollars to businesses instead, a face full of cream is about the best you can wish for.

The Middle East right now is a victim of threat by example.  Egypt set the example.  Other people have caught the fever and have started protesting, marching through the streets with fists raised.  In a sense, they have the same spirit as people like the Biotic Baking Brigade.  Their actions aren't as directed, but the desire to show those in power that their time has come is the same.  Reading this book (which I have not yet finished), is a good reminder of the importance of protest and pranks.  They can cause change, and if they don't, they still make you feel better.  You can either complain about your leaders or oust them.  Remember: if the only way an leader can justify itself (be it human or an agency of humans) is by force, it is no real leader and deserves to be dismantled.  Just because someone or something has a title doesn't mean it deserves it.  What it does deserve is a pie smack dab in its face.

A word of warning, though.  As I was reading the book I came across this disturbing essay title: Menstrual Pies!  Just seeing the title reminded me of a video I saw a few years ago, and the stomach churning feeling I got from it.  The essay is not what it seems, so I would not skip over it if you are reading the book, and nor would I put the book back on the shelf if you are thumbing through it at your local bookseller. 

If  you're in Wisconsin today, you know how nice it would feel to lob one of those pies at your union-hating Republican servants.  If you're in Libya, you may want a pie but probably need bullets.  Either way, the spirit of freedom and fairness is alive and well.  It is up to those who want such things to take them.  Your leaders won't give them to you, they must be snatched away from them.  This book reminds you that such a thing is possible.  Nobody is safe, and there are no exemptions.  It's a bit refreshing, quite honestly, like a an custard pie to face.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Eureka, California's Bayshore Mall has a Borders.  It's one of the mall's anchor stores.  Fifteen hours ago the Wall Street Journal reported that a bankruptcy filing could come within days.  It is predicted that many stores will close soon with more to follow later. 

I'm a fan of bookstores both franchise and independently owned.  The idea of any of them going under gives me a slight sense of dread.  Besides the lost jobs, there is the fact that for many these large chains are the only places to buy books.  Sure, you can get them at Target or Wal-Mart, but try finding a copy of Cannibal Killers there.  You won't.  The Borders disaster is just one more nail in the coffin, though I doubt physical books will disappear in my lifetime.  Access to them, however, will be harder to come by.

Many, but not all, independent bookstore owners are excited about the prospect of Borders going under.  The truth is, however, that bookstores both large and small act as feeder stores for the the other.  If you can't find what you are looking for in one store, you go to the other ... and usually end up seeing something else you want, too.  What the independents do better, though, is know their audience.  Borders tried to be all things to everyone (coffee!  CDs!  DVDs!), while the independents focused on books.  It's a good business plan, as I'm sure Borders is now kicking itself over.

If Borders goes out of business it won't save independent bookstores from themselves.  Instead, it will probably fuel online sales at places like Amazon.  The people who shop only at Borders and not their local independent bookstore do so for a reason.  Borders' closing will most likely only serve to drive those consumers online, and the independent bookstore will never see their business.

I'm usually very excited when a large franchise goes out of business.  (My fingers are still crossed over Blockbuster.)  Bookstores are the exception to that.  I have my complaints about Borders, but they are minor compared to the loss to the Eureka book-loving community.  We still would have plenty of local stores to shop at (many of them specialize strictly in used books, however), but when it comes to books, choice should be the rule and not the exception.  Large franchises and independents operating together offers that.  Take either away from the equation and the real loss is felt at the consumer level.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Letters from George 5

George Hayduke, King of Revenge, author of books like Mayhem and Make 'Em Pay, exchanged plenty of mail in our time.  (Should make anyone think twice before crossing me.)  Here is another letter from George.  He is referencing photos I was going to use for an interview with him I was doing. 

The government stuff he is referencing is in regard to me asking him about ways to shut down the factory where I worked.  I had had enough of management's idiocy and was set to make life hard for them.  It should be noted that the factory is now out of business.  In time, all my enemies expire.

Enjoy the letter.

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the diverse AK47 poster ... appreciated that.  Yup!!  It made me laugh.  I will send copies of [sic] my politically wimpy friends.  Sorry about the photo.  I have enclosed one ... thought I did ... must be growing truly senile.  Damn!!  I am also sending an amusing poster for you.

Use either of my pictures ... the hat and beard are current, the other one is a few years back.  Help yourself.

Yes, I would help OSHA make the workplace safe.  There are other nebbie government agencies that enjoy dicking around too ... EPA, Human Relations Commission, DEA, etc.  Textiles?  Do they hire alien workers ... foreign folks?  Might want the INS to run a green card check.  The Dept of Health might want to check things, too.  Anyway, I will see if I can help out from here, too.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Letters from George 4

Author and agent of destruction George Hayduke sent me this long (for him) letter.  He answered one of my questions about some phone scam I since don't remember, and comment on the Mushacia tapes.  You may know the tape by it's better known name of The Jerky Boys, which came out officially a few years later.  Enjoy.

Lo Dougo,

Sorry about the hipster greeting ... it happens.

Looking forward to issue #8 [of my 'zine] ... yessir.  I hope the photos I sent to you got there by now.  I did send them!

Asked a couple of pals about Mushacia ... they never heard of him or the tapes.  You're right, he/they are hilarious.  I plan to pitch an appeal in this year's book to learn who he is and why.  Is it also OK if I list you, your name and your 'zine in the book ... as a thank you?

I asked two of my resident Ma Bell folks about your free phone call question.  They said NO.  They are our folks ... not Ma Bell ... so they don't lie.  I get much of my fuck Ma Bell stuff from them.

Looked through #7.  Gotta do it again, perhaps when I'm tired or less old.  It's sort of like what I did a thousand years ago.  I think.  Let me do it again.  Perhaps being stoned will help.  It's not you, Doug, it's me.  It's just too much to assimilate in one viewing.

Thank you, amigo.


I did get a mention in his book.