Monthly Archives: January 2024

Word of the Day: extirpate


Good day, most literate reader.  The Word of the Day is extirpate.  Though it sounds like a term your dentist would use in describing cavity treatment, extirpate means to destroy or exterminate completely; often used in relation to disease or pests.
This beautifully menacing word hails from the Latin ‘exstirpare,’ meaning ‘to root out.’ It’s like the Terminator of words, all about total annihilation, no prisoners taken.  Which makes it one of the most awesome words one can have in one’s lexicological arsenal.  It should also, then, come as no surprise that it was the inspiration for my latest contribution to the English canon: sextirpate, which means, vaguely, to somehow fuck somebody completely out of existence.  The mind simply reels at the possibilities when contemplating the mechanics of such an event.  Anyway, that’s another Word for another Day.  Here’s extirpate:

Dream #721
The tale of Bill Lee, exterminator extraordinaire for the shadowy outfit that went by the name Interzone Inc., unfolded like a hallucinogenic daydream on a scorching Moroccan afternoon. Lee’s work had nothing to do with roaches or rats; his prey was of a much more delicate and dangerous variety—human vices, frayed thoughts stitched into the fabric of a corroding society.
He operated in the alleyways of existence, where the sunlight dared not penetrate. Armed with his Gashouse Pistol—a contraption more suited for the pages of a pulp novel than reality—he set about his business with the solemn duty of an otherworldly surgeon needing to extirpate a virulent cancer.
On this particular dive into the heart of the Interzone, where the air was thick with argot and narcotics perfumed the atmosphere, he had his sights trained on a new breed of pestilence. A mind-eating parasite, one that latched onto the consciousness of its host, whispering sweet insanities and dragging them into the soft, welcoming arms of delirium.
Lee slinked through the human bazaar, past hawkers of flesh and dream merchants peddling their ephemeral wares. The chatter of the crowd was a disjointed symphony, a cacophony of desire and desperation that wove itself into the very essence of the Interzone, a tapestry of the soul’s darkest cravings.
He found his mark in a smoke-filled den, a place where existential dread came to drown itself in opium and absinthe. The target? A writer, or so he called himself, scribbling away on stained parchment, his once lucid eyes now clouded by the parasite’s embrace.
Bill Lee approached, the Gashouse Pistol concealed beneath his tattered trench coat, its presence as ominous as the silence before a gunshot. “You’ve got something in your head,” Lee stated, not a question but a terminal diagnosis.
The writer looked up, his grin a cracked reflection of his fractured psyche. “It whispers truths,” he replied, his voice a being unto itself, “the kind that kills if left untended.”
Without a flicker of hesitation, Bill Lee drew his weapon, unceremoniously discharging it into the writer’s temple. But instead of blood and bone, a plume of ink-black vapor emanated from the wound, coiling and twisting as it evaporated into the stale air.
The parasite was gone, extirpated by the hands of an executioner ordained by the Interzone to maintain the balance between the sane world and the chasm of madness threatening to engulf it.
Bill Lee pocketed his weapon as the den’s inhabitants stared, the collective pause a moment of reverence for the necessary evil just enacted. He stepped out into the twilight, leaving behind only the legend of the exterminator, the shadow man, the dealer of decrees in a land ruled by the capricious nature of the mind’s abyss.
In the Interzone, Bill Lee’s work was never done, for every vice extinguished, another was born, and his haunting silhouette would always be there, lurking, waiting to administer the cure that was often worse than the disease.

N.P.: “Seven Souls” – William S. Burroughs

Review: Running


Reviewed by Jayson Gallaway on 21 January 2024 .

1 out of 5

I recently took a belt test in my martial arts class after a long afternoon of whiskey drinking (in fairness, dear reader, I had forgotten about the exact date of the belt test in the midst of all the usual holiday hubbub and chaos), and I found myself woefully ill prepared.  I hadn’t bothered to ask what was involved in the test beforehand [again, to be fair, I previously trained in kung fu, where the belt tests weren’t “announced” per se…sifu would simply observe us individually during regular classes, and once he saw that we were proficient enough, a new belt would be awarded).  And as mentioned supra, I spent most of the day before the test (which test, incidentally was at night (which is the only time these people meet and train…they’re like ninja monks)) drinking whiskey.  So I was shocked…profoundly shocked, dear reader…when the first thing we were asked to do was run a mile in under 10 minutes.  Which was a problem for me.  You see, dear reader, I don’t run.

There are, as per our usual arrangement, myriad reasons for this.  I can run.  I mean I’m perfectly physically capable of running.  I used to be pretty good at it…ran track in high school.  But even then I didn’t like it.  It didn’t feel right.  It felt like I was going against my own nature.

You see, dear reader, I find running unbecoming.  Undignified.  Common.  I’d say pedestrian, but I find walking to be completely dignified and appropriate in whatever situation.

Anytime I see someone or even a group of people running, my first thought is, “What are they running from?” which is followed almost immediately by “What a bunch of pansies…why would you run from anything?  In public?”  So I usually look at the direction that they’re running from, waiting to see Godzilla, or a guy on meth who stole a tank from the local national guard depot, or a Cartel hit squad up from Matamoros, or something.  But there never is anything.  At all.  Perhaps I was wrong about these people.  Or maybe they’re just running from themselves.  That would make sense if it was a bunch of kids, but these are adults.  Running.  And if they’re not running from something, then the next logical question is,  “Well, then…what are they running to?”  Is a local radio station doing a cash-drop from a helicopter?  Are they giving away free drugs half a mile that way?    Lifetime supply of toilet paper to the first 20 people to show up at some grocery store?  Was Jesus spotted in a park having a picnic with Elvis and the Buddha?  Are there still local radio stations?

A few times in the past, when I’ve seen gaggles of people running, I drive by them in the gutter such that they get splashed with water, then I keep driving in the direction they’re going.  And every time I get a couple miles down the road, I see nothing worth running for.  Hell, I’m in a car and I’m not even slightly inclined to pull over for anything.  Sometimes I think I should turn around, drive back and find the running gaggle and helpfully informing them that they can stop and calmly return to their homes: there is jack shit up ahead for you.  But I never do, because fuck ’em.  Who can be bothered?  Not me, not today…I’m a Man on the Move.  In a proper car.  I don’t have time to fuck around with people who run.

I don’t like talking about things while I’m writing about them, but I think I can make a brief exception in this case.  I recently spent a few years working in the mental health unit of a state prison.  Once I got through the main gate, I had to walk over a mile and get through 7 more heavily locked and reinforced “doors” (sallyports and such)  to get to my office.  About 99% of that walk was outside with inmates, usually groups of inmates, walking around, heading to their first class or group or prayer service or whatever of the day.  When I first started, I made this walk alone.  Anytime I’d encounter any inmates, I’d always make eye contact and say a terse, “Good morning.”  The white guys would say, “good morning” or “‘Sup, boss,” or something similar.  The black guys would casually give a slow, “Aaaaalright.”  The crazies wouldn’t say shit.  But nobody ever lipped off to me.  No assaults, no incidents.  Ever.  I helped soldier-carry friends of mine who’d been violently assaulted off the main yard, but no one ever messed with me.  After a couple of months of working in this shithole every day, I got to know some of my coworkers pretty well.  So, if we arrived at the main gate at the same time in the morning, we’d walk the mile together, out to our building.  The majority of people who worked in my building  were female psychologists and social workers.  And when we’d walk in together, they quickly noticed that it was a very different experience than walking in by themselves.  “First time in eight years I haven’t been ‘good-morninged’ once,” said one of my favorite psychologists the first time she walked in with me.  “That was amazing.”  Being told “good morning” may not seem like a terrible thing, but these were some of the worst men on the planet.  Violent serial rapists, multiple murderers…one time I found myself watching The Jerry Springer Show in the day room on C Yard with a guy who was in for cannibalizing an 8-year-old boy.  And being told “good morning” by such a person when you’re a small female walking alone through a prison before the sun is up can be…unnerving.  Remember ‘The Silence of the Lambs’?  What’s the first thing we ever hear Hannibal Lecter say?  Yep: “Good morning.”  And it’s creepy as hell.
So before long, word spread, and female employees would start waiting at the main gate for me to show up, then we’d all walk in together: me and 5-10 women.  This started happening at lunch, also, when I’d walk the half-a-mile or so to the cafeteria, any females who wanted to go would go with me.  During my final year there, I was very rarely seen without an apparent harem of mental health professionals.  Because they felt safe around me.

On paper, they shouldn’t have felt safe at all.  I’m 5’10”, 170lbs.  Most of the inmates were 6’+, 300lbs.  I may know a little martial arts, but I also understand the laws of physics.  And so did they.  I knew that any one of them would have destroyed me in a fight.  And against more than one of them, I’d be ripped apart.  Not only did they know it too, they knew that I knew it.  So why did nothing ever happen?

There were a couple of contributing factors, but I think a big part of it was the way I carried myself.  And a big part of that is the way I walk.  If you’ve spent any time around me, you know that I have three modes of terrestrial locomotion: saunter, swagger, and strut.  The differences between each of these are incredibly subtle and nuanced.  They are very slight variations on the same theme.  And that theme is bad ass.  King Shit.  The Man.  I’m pretty in tune with my animal side…at least a hell of a lot more in tune with it than the majority of Americans seem to be.  And in places like prisons, the rules of the animal kingdom apply far more than the laws of human society.  And prison can be looked at as massive zoo full of apex predators who are only in their cages part of the time.  Ask any inmate, they will back this up.  So to know how to survive in prison, look to the mammalian kingdom (think wolves and gorillas).  How do apex predators behave?  A couple minutes of observation yields one very obvious conclusion: they are never rushed.  And they don’t fucking run.  Sure, maybe a quick burst whilst hunting or whatever, but for the most part, when getting from one place to another, they take their own sweet time.  The betas and females might be inclined to scamper about, run hither and thither, but the main male never runs.  Further, if the main male sees something running, he views it as weak, potentially as prey.  Certainly not a threat.  That’s exactly how it is in prison.  And like it or not, when it counts, that’s how it is in the Really Real World.

Anyway, back to my belt test: I ended up running the mile in 10:02.  Close enough, apparently…and fortunately the running was only a part of the rest of the belt test…the rest was all standing and fighting.  I got my next belt.
But outside of such rarities as martial arts belt tests, dear reader, you’d do well not to run in public, lest you find yourself passing through the digestive system of an apex predator.  #runningsucks

N.P.: “Go Down Deh” – Sachin Pandit

January 19, 2024

Today, on this cold, likely dreary day (depending on where you’re reading this), we commemorate the birth of  Edgar Allan Poe! Yes, the master of mystery and the macabre, the sultan of suspense, the ayatollah of rock-and-rolla, the king of…well, you get the idea.

Born on this day, January 19,  1809, Poe has left an indelible mark on the world of literature. From “The Tell-Tale Heart” to “The Raven”, his stories and poems have given us the terrors, made us think and become slightly paranoid, and have  inspired more than a few beautiful nightmares.

Now, you might be wondering, how does one properly celebrate the birthday of such a literary legend?  You could start by reading one of his works by candlelight, preferably during a thunderstorm for maximum effect. If reciting “Quoth the Raven ‘Nevermore'” to your unimpressed black cat isn’t quite your style, you could always do what the author himself would have done, and get toweringly drunk.  Drink whiskey in a candle-lit room, horribly alone, writing.  Fuck yes.

I do miss the Poe Toaster.  That was the sort of thing that used to make being a writer cool…the idea that strange people would visit your grave in tribute, 100 years after you died.  Alas.  Pour some out for the Toaster.

Anyway, happy 215th birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

N.P.: “The Conqueror Worm” – Lou Reed

January 15, 2024

Welp, it’s Monday, and to be totally honest with you, dear reader, I haven’t been less excited about a Monday in a very long time.  The days are have begun their annual increase, the sky is the color of a tainted meringue, and somehow this day even smells funky.  Not sure what’s up, but we’re simply going to crack on, to hell with this new year’s stank.  First, perhaps some fine haiku:

No resolutions.
Just great writing and revenge.
Pens, swords, and shotguns.

Fuck yes…that felt great.  I need to do that more often.  It reminded me that I do write a mean haiku (usually while imbibing sake bombs at Beni Hana), and that I’ve amassed an admirable collection over the years.  I’ve been thinking about adding a haiku section to the site.  Different from “Doggerel,” though still just as terrible, even more so, since it’s just hacking away at what should be a beautiful, refined Japanese artform.

Anyway, how about some bad jokes?  I got you.  My favorite childhood memory was building sandcastles with my grandpa.  Until my mother took his ashes away.
What do you call a horny cow?  Beef jerky.  (I told you they’d be bad.)  What are the lion and the witch doing in my wardrobe?  It’s Narnia business.

I hate my job.  All I do is crush cans.  It’s soda-pressing.

Think that was bad?  I can do worse.

I saw a hot non-binary person the other day…I said, “Let me she/them titties!”

Get it?  Fine, I’ll stop.

Okay, one more.  I recently hired two Vietnamese sisters to help me with my production.  It was a Nguyen-Nguyen situation.

N.P.: “Ghost” – Slash, Ian Astbury

Word of the Day: surfeit

Greetings, my fellow linguistic tricksters. Grab your spiked coffee, Texas tea, or, what the hell, a tall shot of breakfast whiskey.. It’s time for our Word of the Day, and today’s lucky contestant is “surfeit.”
If you’re like 95% of your semiliterate cohorts, you’ve likely never heard of it.  Well, buckle up, buttercup, because Uncle Jayson’s about to give you an education.
Surfeit, my dear reader, is a noun that means an excessive amount of something. Like when you go to Costco and buy a 75lb case of parmesan cheese because it’s on sale, only to realize when you get home that you live alone and only use parmesan cheese twice a month when you make yourself pasta. That, my friend, is a surfeit of parmesan cheese.
But let’s not stop there.  A surfeit isn’t just an excess; it’s an excessive excess. It’s like taking gluttony, cranking it up to eleven, and then adding 50lbs of cherries on top. It’s the kind of excess that makes people look at you and say, “Damn, Caligula, that’s excessive.”
Imagine going to a buffet and not just filling your plate, but stacking it high until it resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And then going back for seconds. And thirds. And maybe even fourths. That’s a surfeit of food. And also probably a one-way ticket to a very uncomfortable evening.
Now, I can see you sitting there, thinking to yourself, “Why on God’s abandoned earth would I ever need to use this word?” Well, the next time you’re at a party, and someone asks why you’re ferociously hoarding all the guacamole, you can just look them in the eye and say, “I have a surfeit of love for avocados.” Not only will you sound incredibly sophisticated, but you’ll also have a great excuse for your guacamole greed.
So there it is: Surfeit. A word that’s as fun to say as it is to experience. Unless we’re talking about 75lbs of parmesan cheese. In which case, in the spirit of charity and good will, leave it on the steps of a local soup kitchen: somebody will eat it.
Now let’s use this bastard in a story:
Our hero, dear friends, is none other than yrs. truly. And our setting? The hallowed halls of the ‘Drunken Donkey’, the finest (and only) pub in my little corner of nowhere. It was a Friday night, or maybe a Tuesday—it’s hard to remember when every day feels like a weekend.
I was sitting at the bar, nursing my third—or was it fourth?—pint of the Donkey’s famous ‘Kick-Ass Ale’. Across from me, Old Man Jenkins was snoring into his whiskey, a regular tableau at the ‘Donkey’.
Enter our villain: the infamous ‘Gut-Puncher’, a drink so potent, it could knock out a horse—or an overly confident fool who thought he could handle his liquor. Spoiler alert: that fool was me.
“Oh, come on,” slurred my buddy Pete, as he slammed the Gut-Puncher down in front of me. “Don’t tell me you’re scared.”
“I’m not scared,” I shot back. “I’m terrified. There’s a difference.”
But under the weight of peer pressure and the haze of alcohol, my common sense took a backseat. I grabbed the Gut-Puncher, raised it high, and declared, “To a surfeit of bad decisions!”
The crowd cheered. I chugged. The world spun.
When I woke up the next morning, sprawled on my bathroom floor with a throbbing headache and a mouth that tasted like a rabid raccoon’s ass, I had two thoughts. The first was, “Why is there a garden gnome in my tub?” The second was, “I have experienced a surfeit of alcohol, and I will never drink again.”
Of course, that was a lie. Because the next Friday (or was it Tuesday?), there I was again, back at the ‘Drunken Donkey’, ready for another round.
And that, my friends, is the story of how I learned the true meaning of ‘surfeit’. It’s also why I now have a garden gnome named Fred in my bathroom. But that’s a story for another day.
Until then, remember: drink responsibly, don’t challenge Pete to a drinking contest, and if you ever find yourself with a surfeit of gnomes… well, let me know. Fred could use some company.

N.P.: “Come Together” – The Brothers Johnson

January 1, 2024

Happy New Years, vigorous reader.  Know that I am drinking whiskey toasts to you and yours.  Unless you’re one of the Three On The List, in which case I am, as always, wishing you ill and encourage you, for the sake of all concerned, to run far and fast if you haven’t already.  But fuck them…this is about you, dear reader…I do hope you have a happy new year.  My advice for 2024: Pay off any and all debts, procure more long guns and ammo, have cash on hand, invest in body armor, do not travel, and be ready to move fast.

But I’m sure everything’s going to be fine.

N.P.: “Nemesis” – Shriekback