“It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy and, God, I know I’m one.”

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2020 by A♠





Reader Benm writes:


“Glad to see you’re back, always get good insights from your posts. And truths I should stop avoiding if I’m honest.”


Thanks, Ben.


In reply, I admitted I make the same mistake (avoiding certain truths).


So here’s some elucidation to that confession.




I couldn’t tell you where or when I first heard the phrase.


I’m sure it’s just one of those maxims that’s made the rounds.


Gets bandied about.


Touted with some verve.


Then conveniently forgotten.


I’m no exception.




What maxim is that, the attentive reader asks?


“How you find them is how you lose them.”


Whew, lads, is that the truth that I’ve denied more than once.


No doubt, I’m in good company.


Understand, it’s only human for a man to think he’s special.


To believe he’s found someone that’s willing to break the rules; forgo convention; take risks, all to be with him.


In fact, not only is it human – it’s a tremendous ego boost.


However, that’s yet to be the case.


At least, in my personal experience.




Thus far – sans exception – any gal that’s done such a thing for me has done such a thing to me.


It’s a bag of broken glass, into which I’ve reached more than once, hoping to find the diamond at the bottom.


Only to discover – thus far – there’s none to be had.


See, a man gets so wrapped up in thinking he’s triumphed over the competition – consciously or unconsciously – in the mating game of musical chairs, that he slows to take in the beauty of the song.


Realizing, too late, there’s a few more bars of music to go.


And the other contestants are still going at full speed.




Why do folks – men and women, alike – do this to each other?


I couldn’t really say.


Maybe it’s the need for security.


They’ve got to know they’ve always got someone available to them.


Maybe it’s the need for validation.


They’ve got to know they’ve always got someone desiring them.


Maybe it’s simply a thrill.


I’m sure the reasons for the game are as varied as the personalities of those that play it.




What I can tell you is this:


When it happens to you, the betrayal isn’t the greatest agony.


It’s confirmation that you aren’t remotely special.


That it’s a game you shouldn’t have played.


That you didn’t stop a crime—


You helped commit one.



“Put a bounty on my head, tell my parents that I’m dead and hope to Hell I’m never found…”

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2020 by A♠







If you’re one of many folks that liked or commented on my open letter posted months ago:


Thank you.


Truly and deeply.


You’re the men that keep me writing.




Since I’m technically behind this year and – given circumstances in the world, at the moment – I thought I’d give you all something to read to express my humble gratitude for your loyalty.




The back-story:


Years ago, I met a female private-eye on Twitter.


We’ve had a cordial internet acquaintanceship for years, so when she asked me to help her return to writing (a hobby she used to enjoy a while back) I was happy to help.


Not only because she’s been friendly (and indulgent given my sexist work), but because I enjoyed receiving the opportunity to stretch my creative muscles.


So I posited a story in which we met (we’ve never actually met in person, to this very day) and began a professional relationship.


She showed me hers; I showed her mine.


I can’t share hers, simply because it’s not mine to share.


But I offer mine in hopes you’ll have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.


My best to you all,




Lavender & Brimstone

I tell her, “You know, a woman in a man’s profession winds up there because she feels she has something to prove.”

I say it like I was reciting a weather report that called for rain in Seattle. Both are time-proven, well-worn facts to me.

She’s shooting whiskey so cheap I can smell it from across the table and she’s chasing it with a beer your uncle that’s quit drinking four times now would likely pass up. What is it with women and self-abuse? Regardless, I’m kinda shocked at her reply to my incendiary statement. She’s neither laughing nor pouting – not that I expected a laugh, mind you. Instead, she just stares at me over the rim of her glasses for a heartbeat or two. Her furrowed brow and flashing eyes show me she’s a bit peeved, though. Good. Now I’m on her radar.

“You’re probably right about that”, she replies.

Her words reveal her anger even less than her eyes do. She’s used to dealing with people. Jerks like me, definitely. This confirms my instincts; I chose the right one but I push just an inch more to see if she takes the bait.

I toss “I know I am” out there, keeping it perfectly neutral; in tune with the opener that started all of this.

Actually, I push an inch more because she doesn’t make any sense. No, she’s not speaking in tongues or jabbering in some psychotic fugue state. I mean she doesn’t belong here. And I don’t mean “here” as in this bar, necessarily.
Yeah, the bar is awful. Back when I made serious coin I ate at restaurants with more appealing dumpsters than this joint; what with its cracked, wooden paneling and booths upholstered with pleather slightly less clean than a bus floor. Worse still, the place was old. Not “charmingly antiquated” or “classic”; hobo living on a steam vent old. The basement this bar infests must predate the city that’s forced to admit it surrounds both. I’m sure its wiring was done by H.R. Giger; exposed sockets, fixtures and wires gave it all a ghastly, retro-techno-horror vibe. I suspect someone’s been bribing or blowing the inspections personnel. The funniest part of it all is that an owner somewhere in its sordid history seemed to try to spruce the place up; figurines, framed pictures and posters line the walls. Sadly, they only made the place even more depressing, like looking at a high school yearbook and remembering how svelte you were then or how much more hair you had. However, as I said, I didn’t mean the bar. I meant she didn’t make sense because she was a pretty girl in an ugly world.
Her skin was clear and light; looking as soft as my favorite pillow and as smooth as saxophone solo, not that I’d touched it. She didn’t come to places like this without knowing how to handle grabby hands, I’m dead sure. Her eyes were a blend of light and shade; windows to a soul that couldn’t decide if it belonged north or south of this dismal purgatory in which we found ourselves. Her lips seemed to be the type that, if they smiled, would be like the sun breaking through the clouds above a Saint’s head in a religious painting. Maybe that’s just the Roman Catholic kid in me. Most of all it was the way she carried herself; as if she’s trying to forget she’s a woman yet remains steadfastly determined to fail in the attempt. Senseless.

“So are you here to blow my mind with your insights or was there something else you wanted to discuss?” she asks with a bit feistiness. But just a bit.

“We don’t have to talk for me to blow your mind”, I retort.

I keep it deadpan; let her take it the wrong way. It’ll make the reaction that’s due in a minute that much sweeter. I smirk at the thought.

“Yeah, okay. I think you mentioned you need help finding someone. Still looking?”

The beleaguered tone in that “yeah, okay” tells me she took it exactly the wrong way. Perfect.
I reach under the table, grab the paper shopping bag I brought with me then put it on the table. I make sure to pick my whiskey up, first, of course and sip it; nodding towards the bag. I make sure to push it damn near under her chin, fully across the table. I don’t want her thinking I’m going to paw at her.
For the first time since we met, she seems genuinely intrigued. I can read folks just as well as she can. Plus, I knew this would draw the curious cat out of this particular investigative kitten.

“Open it”, I tell her. More like a spouse giving a gift than an officer barking orders. “You know you want to. Or are you afraid curiosity will kill the cat?”

“I hate cats”, she firmly states. “I like birds.”

I told you this chick made no sense.

Expecting some lascivious take on her revelation – I imagine – she immediately adds “Parrots, specifically.”

“Just open the bag.”, I order with a hint of exasperation.

She does. Her eyes widen damn near the size of the lenses in her glasses. I’m unsure if the cause is the $15,000 in cash or the pistol. Maybe it’s both. Regardless, the reaction is everything I’d hoped it would be.

“I told you we don’t have to talk for me to blow your mind. Now, about my missing friend…”



“They’re neither moral nor majority”

Posted in Uncategorized on March 16, 2020 by A♠




I normally try to avoid trendy topics, but in this instance I’ll make an exception.


Actually, I’ll make an exception within an exception by giving actionable advice.


While most will be pumping even more mind-numbing Netflix and other forms of nigh-on-satanic digital heroin into their nervous systems in the coming weeks, I offer alternatives – because I, unlike them, care about you.




Thus, in the wake of what is now considered a pandemic, permit me to give some (unrequested) actionable advice should quarantines progress in stringency:


1} Unplug your television. You don’t need to break it or perform any expensive, iconoclastic-signaling nonsense such as that, but unplug it. Make it that much harder for you to watch it; render it more difficult for you to turn it on in favor of other – more productive – activities.


2} Go clean out your car and perform basic maintenance. Wherever it’s parked is very likely to be more than six feet from people so you won’t catch anything except the trash collection that’s been proliferating on your floorboards for quite some time.


3} Don’t have a car (or even if you do)? Clean your place. Don’t lie; you live somewhere. Vacuum; wash the windows; sweep; mop. You may be stuck there a while so make confinement that much more pleasant.


4} Do bodyweight exercises; yoga; stretches; walk around your yard (if you have some land). There’s exactly zero reasons you can’t go online and create a complete routine to do three or more times a week for 45 minutes each time.


5} Start writing emails. Contact folks you feel would be good candidates for reconnection or solidify friendships you already have. Germs won’t be transmitted thusly.


6} Learn a few crock pot/slow cooker recipes. If you don’t have one, go buy one while you can. Broke? Try thrift stores. You’ll be amazed how healthy you can eat on very little money and on meager supplies.


7} Make use of 24 hour stores in your area. If you work 9/5, nap if you must, but shop at 0200 regardless. Should you acclimate yourself to a weekly trip, I promise you’ll never go back to your old ways of shopping.


8} If you’re blessed enough to have a family or decent roommates, play board games. Break ’em out and put them to use (Note: not Monopoly, as that’s basically divorce in a box).


9} Hit that pile of “to be read” books you’ve neglected for far too long already. Don’t have one? Search for Project Gutenberg online and download some classics for free. Read them on your phone or tablet. I’ve a beat-up, used Nook that I’ve read everything from Dracula to The Insidious Fu-Manchu – for free, legally.


10} Lastly, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t plug table-top role-playing games. If you trust your friends to not attend a la the Red Death, invite them over and learn one together. PDF’s can be bought online or found free. Many of which use standard playing cards or dice that can be found in the board games you have around the house, too. Just do a bit of research.




That said, here’s things not to do that I have unwisely done in self-imposed exile:


1} Don’t drink enough whiskey to shit blood.


2} Don’t alienate friends and family by ignoring calls and messages.


3} Don’t start indulging your emotional bulimia online by starting a blog and writing incessantly for years for an audience small enough to fit in a high-school auditorium.


[OK, the last of the “don’ts” was a joke since I’ve met some great folks that way but understand it’s still laborious and financially unprofitable.]


Now, don’t say nobody loves you.


Because I just proved I do.


Stay well and healthy,





“Keep him tired; it makes him well. He’s getting better, can’t you tell?”

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2020 by A♠






It’s fairly safe to say I was drunk from 2004 to 2014.


I’m by no means proud of that.


But a fact is a fact.




Yet, my purpose in mentioning it now isn’t to lament, per se.


I’ve confessed to my shame and regret regarding it in previous posts, already.


The aspect of it that’s been unmentioned, thus far, is this:


Sobering was akin to drifting upon the somnolent tides of a coma.


As if moving from one dream into another.


Rather than waking.


And not in purely positive ways.




For 10 years, I didn’t watch television, the news, et al.


If it wasn’t a blog or book, I payed it virtually no attention.


Imagine my surprise at seeing how much everything – my neighborhood, my nation, the world – changed in over what felt like a night of imbecilic self-medication.




While my life was reduced to whiskey and ashes, the good was not the only victim in the conflagration.


Myriad illusions burned away along with it.


And the horrors have been all too clear ever since.


Trigger warnings and self-abasement.


Original sin for some with redemption for none.


A religious movement in the self-delusional guise of secular humanism.


A death cult at the rudder of the global ship.


Navigators seeking the edge of the world to pitch over into oblivion with the goal of soothing a self-loathing that demands company.




Now, I’m still trapped, just like so many.


No better; no different.


Except that, each and every day—


I scratch away a bit more at the exterior wall of my cell.


All while, to the inmates who choose to press close to the walls they share with me and listen to my words, whispering—


Freedom is not as far off as they’d have us believe.



“Forty-thousand men and women every day (Redefine happiness) “

Posted in Uncategorized on March 1, 2020 by A♠




My long, ebon hair against the ivory white of the sink can’t help but catch my attention.


The stark contrast of the colors only increases the shock.


The vague S-shape of the strands act as a morbid Rorschach test; conjuring images of scythe’s sable-black haft.


Then, wiping it out with a paper towel while glancing in the mirror above it, I am forced to notice the ever creeping gray – like gravestones slowly multiplying in a newly made cemetery – filling my (now signature) horseshoe mustache.


The inexorable march of time continues apace.




I have a friend from my youth who eats right, exercises regularly and even bikes to work.


All because he’s abjectly terrified of death (by his own clear, vocalized admission) and seeks to stave it off by any and all possible means.


What else does he do?


He absorbs volumes of modern media – television, comics, film, books, et al.


He works at a well paying job but certainly nothing he’d planned – let alone dreamed – of doing.


He has a master’s degree in creative writing yet he’s not written in 20+ years.


He rarely dates.


He has very few friends.


In brief, to all appearances—


He exists to consume.


No less; no more.




“He who pretends to look on death without fear lies”, Rousseau said.


Doubtless, I am no exception.


I fear it, as any sane man does.


Yet, it’s not quite the same terror that grips him, or most others.


I fear it as most do a lightless stairwell or woods at night.


The unknown – with all its potential horrors – rather than cessation of the present.


Truth be told, I am frightened of eternity; the endless continuance of something or anything – good or bad.


But the close of my time on this earth?


Not so much.




Admittedly, there is so much to see, experience, learn, I couldn’t fit it in three lifetimes let alone one.


But I’ve certainly tried to make the most of my time here.


Another friend once told me more than a decade ago:


“[You’ve] gotten 70 years out of 35.”


I took it as tremendous compliment, since those years have been spent learning.










Now, I couldn’t say exactly why my friend fears death so much.


However, I suspect it’s because he feels as though he’s accomplished nothing.


Made no difference.


That his time will have been as footprints in sand between waves.


I’ll never ask, though.


I could be projecting.


Although, that’s a diminishing – if not vanished – fear for me.




I’ve said before:


A man that places all his value on women and conquering them is to tend a garden that never blooms quite as brightly as it did the day before.


Solipsistic focusing is little different.


Instead, we can invest in our existence insofar as it enables us a greater and wider impact, then affect that which is within our reach – its grasp extends further than we realize, too.


Whether that’s striving to build or simply maintain something beyond the flickering candle that is our respective burning time, is – at its core – irrelevant.


The intention of a painter is not to exercise his fingers and wrists; it is to create something that would not – could not – otherwise exist.


It’s not our hands but the threads we weave into the greater tapestry that shield us from the chill blackness of the eternal night.




All of us, every one, will one day fall to endless sleep.


It can be received as a senseless punishment.


Or as a well earned rest.


The totality of our actions prior is the choice that defines it.



“I remember how you… shined your smile but all the while you knew we’d never last”

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2020 by A♠





You’ll forgive me if I can’t find the post.


My record keeping leaves much to be desired.


But I have, in the past, stated (in one form or another):


A man will know a woman is on her way out well before she actually closes the door behind her exit from the relationship.


Although few young men (or possibly anyone, given my extended absence) read this blog any longer, I still believe it helpful to enumerate the tells (to use a gambling term, as I’m wont to do) a man can spot to give himself some time to prep for the end.


1} She criticizes less = Understand a woman feels – consciously or unconsciously – the need to correct a man; to keep him ambitious and moving forward. Of course, one must establish a baseline (to use a law enforcement term – meaning to understand the standard level of the trait/behavior in question and the frequency of its manifestation) of such critiques. Yet, should it drop below that established level, “the end is nigh” as the sandwich-boards of street-prophets proclaim in bold letters.


2} She speaks/spends time only when she has nothing else happening; during a commute, a slow day at work, a lazy afternoon = As my father said “When a woman wants a man, nothing on earth will stop her from getting him, son. Nothing.” Never have seen this disproven. Not once. The less she prioritizes you, the less she wants you.


3} She picks a fight (or fights) = Realize that this is eye to eye with the end. She wants to bail but is terrified of “being the bad guy”. She’s trying to get a rise out of you so that you behave badly, thus making you the villain of the encounter; thereby exonerating her and justifying her choice to bolt.


4} She’s more supportive in all the wrong ways = She wants you to spend more time with your friends; playfully mentions you flirting with other girls; thinks certain irresponsibilities on your part are ok (see point 1).


5} She starts getting “back into shape” = Women like shiny things and nothing gleams like new love. You may have been pushing for her to do that for literally years, but you didn’t get through – trust me.




To be clear, I don’t write this so men can “dump them first”.


Such a thing is childish and, frankly (for men), silly.


You’re going to be the bad guy that way, thus making it even easier for her.


So just sit back and let it happen.


Let her bluff so she takes the hand.


While you take the pot.




Now, none of these are set in stone.


Exceptions do exist, I suppose.


However, I personally wouldn’t put my money on that.




Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2020 by A♠






Sometimes she’s not a bitch, a trollop, a harridan or a whore.


Sometimes she’s not demanding, derisive or dim.


Sometimes she’s smart and funny.


Sometimes she’s bright eyed, big-hearted and has a voice that evokes memories of happy childhood you never had but wished you did.


Sometimes she is sweet and caring and worries about you even as you tell her it’s over.


Sometimes she holds you and holds back her tears because she knows you break just seeing a frown play across her face.


Sometimes she’s the only woman – out of a parade of trysts, failed attempts and two borderlines – to really care about you and bend over backwards to prove it.


Sometimes things just don’t work out.


Sometimes she’s wonderful but you’re just different people.


Sometimes you cry, off and on, for 12 hours even though you’re the same guy that fell off motorcycles, had his appendix rupture and didn’t shed even a handful of tears as they put your mother in the cold ground some merciless December just because – although the gal isn’t perfect – she’s the best thing to happen to you thus far.


Sometimes being the man means not wasting her time and fertility.


Sometimes being the man means hurting the woman you love most now so you don’t hurt her a 1,000 times more when there’s kids, a mortgage, in-laws and a million other chains that bind you far tighter and far longer than you’ll ever guess.


Sometimes you’re glad you wrote a book on how to avoid committing suicide because you’ll look like a serious asshole if you gargle a shotgun a few years after publishing it.


Sometimes you wish the whiskey and cigarettes killed you so you wouldn’t have to do this.


Sometimes there’s no good way; there’s just the best way possible.






An open letter to my readers

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2019 by A♠



I cross myself in the traditional catholic way and pray every single time I sit down to write.


You may not know that.


Not trying to win points; I’m a shitty catholic.


But it is true.


And this blog has been about the truth the whole time.


It’s not changing in that regard.






Another truth:


I’m tired.


I’ve been fighting this (culture) war for 30 years (31 in a week or so when I turn 47).


Fucking exhausted, if I’m being profanely honest.


I won’t boor you with details of my absence so I’ll simply leave it at:


I’ve lost everything that didn’t literally fit in a duffel bag.


Cars, a motorcycle, book collections, writings, irreplaceable (award winning) photographs.


The last wound delivered by my decade-long suicide attempt.


But I’m still here.




Imagine my surprise at my return to find twitter aflame with the ‘sphere blasting itself to pieces and charlatans around every corner.


Posturing and infighting.


Grift and grief.


For years, now, they’ve been saying “the ‘sphere is dead”.


With everyone shouting blame.


Well, as usual, I’ll give the answer you didn’t request and probably won’t like:


Who killed it?


The readers.




Because con-men are only as successful as the number of suckers they ensnare.


If one is seeking easy solutions and honeyed words then one should expect to be duped.


Life is not that easy.


Of course I’m releasing my readers from culpability.


But, as usual, I can do so honestly.


Because I’ve sold nothing but promises of diamonds after a long and arduous dig.


I’ve never said I was anything but a broke – and broken – fat man trying to get his shit together again while sharing the wisdom gleaned from his voluminous mistakes smoothed by 90 proof lubricant [Devil’s Cut is 90 proof but 80 proof is what I briefly drank when this all began].




What does this mean for this blog?


The tone will change for a while.


It’ll be deeply personal regarding the struggle to return to normalcy (from my self-imposed, inebriated, shut-in exile) and cope with aging in a world unrecognizable to me.


If that is uninteresting to you, then I sincerely thank you for the time we’ve shared and wish you the happiest of trails.


If, instead, it’s something that captures your curiosity:


Then saddle up; we ride again.


Because, as I wrote in my first book:


You’ll either live to be my age ̶


or you won’t.



“It’s the end of our story, you’re so fucking boring…”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2019 by A♠




New reader abledad comments:

“My friends still make fun of me for breaking-up with a lady the ‘2nd’ time that she went to jail. She was more proof of the correlation between ‘crazy’ and ‘hot’.”


I confess to laughing when I read that.


Not due to schadenfreude.


(I don’t care for such at all; I avoid it.)


But because I could relate so damn well.


I imagine many men can relate equally so.




Posh style wrapped seductively around boorish behavior.


Dragged into drama then out of the party.


Gin-phase‡ laments demanding endless, yet futile, comforting.


Going out to dinner just to end up in misery.


Hitting the club only to miss the dance floor.


If the above is senseless or vague to you:


Then you likely haven’t lived it.




(If you haven’t, then lucky fellow, you.)




Now, I’ve said – many times – dealing with certain issues is par for the course if a man wants a woman.


So much so, I counseled men who refuse to put in the work to:


Stock up on tissues and hand lotion.


However, there’s a limit.


Compromise is one thing.


Total self-abasement is another entirely.




It’s no good owning a Ferrari only to have it in the shop ever other Thursday.


The repair costs – let alone the time without it being functional and of use – make it a fool’s bargain, at best.


A Faustian one, at worst.




Thus, as difficult as it may be (easier said than done, certainly):


Pause to realize whether the bucket you’re emptying onto the fire is water.


Or kerosene.


Then, continue.


Or leave to let it burn itself out.


And if you’re still morbidly curious (which I don’t recommend):


Social media will let you witness both the smoke and proliferation of ashes.





‡ Gin-phase is a term I devised for those moments a woman gets drunk at a party/event/gathering then sits on a flight of stairs somewhere in the vicinity and opens the floodgates to self-deprecation in hopes she can fish in the deluge for compliments.




“I’m sick of running… into the whip that strikes my back”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2019 by A♠





In the past, I’ve advised extricating oneself from stagnant, bad or outright toxic situations as swiftly as possible.


I stand by my words.


Yet there’s something succinctly important that I feel must be mentioned:


Running from a problem isn’t the same as running towards a solution.




I’ve learned the hard way that some escapes just lead to different – and worse – prisons.


The maxim “out of the frying pan and into the fire” has its merits, no doubt.


So, when fleeing, be cautious as to the destination.




Of course, I’m a man of nuance.


This isn’t to say one should never make a mad dash out.


After all, sometimes a hasty flight is the only remedy.


This is merely a reminder to keep one eye in front as much as one eye behind.




Additionally, when the regrets arrive – as they always do (oddly enough, it seems to be the worse a situation was, the more many of us seem to lament its passing but that’s for another day) – realize:


You walked away for a reason.


And it was likely a good one.