Wednesday, July 31, 2013


“Order. Order!! I call the emergency meeting of the Blackheart Hollow School Library Committee to order. That includes you, Bobbie Sue.” Tawnee Patricia “Tea Party” Patterson waved her ceremonial gavel over her bouffant hairdo and glared menacingly at the assembled hoard, hot and bothered by the latest attack on the Bible, Country, and the American Way. “We are here to discuss this abomination, this communist, liberal, soul-deprived description of life in these here hollars, Mr. Pollock’s Knockemstiff, God-rest the souls of the poor folk who lived there way back. Amen.” So began last night's meeting at the All Saints Sinners’ Repent Holiness Church, as witnessed by your faithful reporter.

A voice from the back of the hall rang out, “Did you read it, Momma?”

T.P.’s eyes narrowed and focused on the mullet, then dipping down behind some shoulders in the back row. “Hell, no! But Fannie Lou at the library did, and she gave me a full report on this literary garbage. I want to call for an immediate BAN of this here book from our public and school library. And from the county and country, God willing.”

“Now wait a minute, T.," drawled Junior Junior, Jr. “I think we should discuss this here book.”

Despite holding pitchforks, placards, and burning tar-covered sticks, the assemblage nodded their reluctant approval. T.P. let out a huff, then a sigh, as she discovered her speedy railroading was slighted derailed. “You’ll see, you’ll see,” she shouted.

Minister Deacon Blackheart, of the forefather founding Blackhearts, raised his ample girth up from his committee chair and exclaimed: “This heretical collection of putrefaction makes people like us look as if we are all overweight poverty-ridden, drug-addled, sex-crazed, misogynistic, backwoods hillbillies with missing teeth and no ambition, reluctant to leave our insulated world, prejudiced and judgmental, gossipy and mean spirited, and eager for any scrap.”

“Tell it, preacher.”

“I mean, we gots some folks like that, for sure, but do we need to read about it in such terrifying stark and reviling detail, and with all those bad words besides? And many of the characters are kids! Just more proof that we need to come down harder on our chillums.”

“Amen, brother.”

“Of course, I probably would have conked a few of the sinning reprobates depicted in these stories myself. But, lawdy, people get away with murder and thieving and all sorts of affronts to the Good Book. Our chilluns do not need to read this type of offensive material. Older ones neither.”

T.P. looked with satisfaction at the assembled crowd, but was then forced to recognize Warner Reading, local English teacher. “Now, now folks,” he said, “this is actually a wonderfully written collection of fiction. Fiction, people. No doubt this excellent writer took some liberties, engaged in a bit of fantasy and exaggeration, and tried to capture a small smattering of sentimentalities common to our own hill folks. We may not be Kentucky or West Virginia, but we have some common types. And in the recent rampant rampage and decay of drugs and poverty and community destruction, that we are all aware of, his words often ring quite true, even if a little strident.” After rubbing the developing sunburn blistering on the back his neck, from x-ray glares of his neighbors, he continued, “Why, Pollock's writing is very strong, and perhaps should be a welcome metaphorical and insightful critique of life in SOME hollers. Perhaps we are afraid of seeing the victims for what they are. I liked the story of the young man who abuses the doll, only to be turned into a living doll himself. The actual Knockemstiff has been a ghost town for many years, so the folks Pollock populated it with are figments of his fertile imagination, though I hope his family and friends are forgiving.“

A voice from the crowd asked, “What is the sudden interest in us anyway. Have you seen that Justified? Or read that Winters Bone guy? This stuff is bleak, bleak, bleak! Yeah, he writes purty good and tells a good yarn for some late-to-the-party author, but is there no happiness to be found? Other than an occasionally spark of drug-induced thrill? One wonders if the reader should be mortified or laughing his ass off. Excuse me, T.P.”

The professor replied: "Well, he sure is well grounded in the area and the hardships of low paid employment at rough work. I can't speak to his knowledge of the sordid side of life, but a lot rings true. One can certainly be horrified by the way supposedly God-fearing people treat their spouses and family and friends. I think these shorts stories, even if they raise concerns, are a wonderful addition to the growing body of Appalachian literature."

The debate was off and running and continued for several more hours, with no satisfactory accord, and the topic was tabled until the next meeting. Expect an even bigger crowd then. The only other business discussed was Mary Alice Childerstick's pigs breaking out of their pen and devouring the Bickerstaff's green garden. The aforementioned promised to replace the lost veggies with plant from her own garden (but not the wacky tobbacky).

Getta Write, editor, Blackheart Bugle

[I recommend ya’ll run over to Bridget’s Book Swap and Bawdy Boutique and buy you a copy.]

Friday, July 26, 2013


Johnny Depp, who earlier played a Hunter Thompson-like character in Fear and Loathing (1998) returns to portray a younger version of the gonzo journalist as a neophyte drunk, yet already crusading journalist, working for an on-the-skids newspaper (helmed by the manic Lotterman, played by character actor Richard Jenkins) in late-1950s Puerto Rico in The Rum Diary (2011), based upon one of Thompson's early novels. Journeyman actor Michael Rispoli does a good job as his news photographer sidekick and guide Sala, Giovani Ribisi plays a rum-addled Nazi sympathizer who introduces his roommates to LSD (I think), and the very lovely Amber Heard plays his love interest (and the squeeze of a corrupt land developer played by Aaron Eckhart). Although a financial disappointment (I have heard), it really wasn't a bad movie overall, if you don't mind going on a long nostalgic bender to the beautiful Caribbean isle, as the locals increasingly rise up against their racist American masters and despoilers (sufficiently Marxist for you?), and the protagonist uncovers and exposes a shady land deal. I wouldn't give the movie any major award, but I did find it entertaining.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Tried to watch Movie 43 and couldn't even get through the first two sections. Although it might be wrong to judge having seen so little, but if they foreshadowed the rest of the movie, which I think they probably did, then DO NOT WASTE your time. Repellent, disgusting, unfunny. Maybe 13-year old boys would like it. But they might even gag. How they got these big names to participate, I don't know. Blackmail, I think. I am not impressed at all. I was taken in by the long list of well-known actors, but this scatological waste of time should make people want to puke. There are bad movies, but this is intentionally bad. Whoever green-lit this monstrosity need to have their head examined.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Although I like the big-budget blockbusters as much as the next guy, often the movies that are the best and touch my heart the most are the small, independent (and in this case foreign) films that have a wonderful and touching story to tell. Such is the case with Boy (2010), about an eleven-year old boy in 1980s New Zealand who is left at his nana's house while she is away to a funeral entrusted with caring for his younger brother and assorted cousins. His mother died in childbirth and the father is a ne'er-do-well in jail; his brother believes he has magical powers; and he is smitten by Michael Jackson, and an unattainable older girl from school. Suddenly the immature father arrives with two hanger-ons, intent on finding money he stashed in a field, and while he is searching he tries to reestablish some sort of relationship with his kids. He is a big failure, but he is still their dad. A really nice little film, that I would show to anyone, although there is a little bit of violence and pot smoking and drinking. James Rolleston is wonderful in the lead role, and Te Aho Aho EketoneWhitu is good as his younger brother. Taika Waititi wrote, directed, and starred as the father.

One unfortunate decision they made was not to include captioning for the hearing impaired, as I had some trouble understanding what the characters were saying.I got most of it, but I hate missing out.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


She gives away so little, scraps of
intelligence, barest insights, unconfirmable
though out there I’m sure, waiting for
verification by heart, united futures only.
One could insist on truth, but expect a dodge,
feelings flying fast for firmer ground, falling
into a sandpit of forgotten facts, unexplained pasts.
I yearn for the password, the secret code, the
combination that will unlock mysteries.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Sometimes we (especially those of us approaching the latter years) have to be reminded that we are all getting older and that some of us, God willing, shall get to experience life in a retirement home. We should also remember that old wounds, loving interests and skills, solid friendships---despite the attack of time on body and mind---continue into advanced age, not the least among those for whom the arts was the reigning theme of their lives. This is well presented in the delightful movie The Quartet, directed by Dustin Hoffman, about four celebrated opera singers who end up at the same English retirement manor, the last just arriving and throwing the other three into a bit of a snit, especially one who was briefly married and terribly hurt by the newcomer. It really is a story of frayed (and solid) friendships, forgiveness, and the future (short as it might be for some), as well as the delight in performing that is really the core of all those who were professionals at the arts. Tom Courtenay, as the unforgiving and bitter cuckold Reginald, and Billy Connolly, as his overly randy but humorously entertaining life-long bud Wilf, are as delightful a screen pairing that I can recall. Pauline Collins is wonderful as the kindhearted, possibly formerly flirty or ditsy Cissy, member of the quartet who are living at Beecham House (and in many ways the grounds and building are another sterling part of the cast), but who is approaching senility at a slightly faster clip then her fellow singers. Into the mix arrives Maggie Smith, the unbending and formerly pampered by broken diva Jean. Michael Gambon, best known as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, plays the cantankerous old director. The rest of the cast is sprinkled with actual retired musicians, and they, as well as other regular actors with lesser roles, are all wonderful. There did not seem to be a single misstep. I especially loved how the film showed how egos and rivalries (and perhaps grudging respect) continue into old age, the steel perhaps weakened but the edge still sharp. The soundtrack is nice, and even though opera is not my thing, I loved all of the music. In other words, you do not have to be an aficionado to enjoy the movie, and I will admit to shedding a few tears. 

Friday, July 12, 2013


      [Unauthorized viewing may result in full prosecution by federal statutes.]

7-12-2013  NSA Doc #123-QA-666-DD/HBB-71213
NSA Electronic Surveillance Conducted XX-XX-XXXX [Redactions made to protect highly sensitive national security information, and in some cases, the parties investigated.]
OFFICER IN CHARGE:  Special Agent Algernon Singley Smith
ELECTRONIC TECH:  Singh M. Pocaladar**
               [**S.M.P. graduated from same IT programs as SXXXX RXXXXXXX and reports that she was always a subversive character and may have been a poor influence on DXXXX DXXX, and has long-held antipathy against alleged anti-government provocateur HXXXX BXX BXX. Since SR is an American citizen and employed by an important worldwide commercial concern, with deep political pockets, caution has been made to protect the not-so-innocent.]

Following transcript is recording of secretly taped conversation between DXXXX DXXX (954-XXX-XXXX) and HXXXX BXX BXX (478-XXX-XXXX) at 10 AM on 7-12-13, AT&T Special Linkage, US FED COURT WARRANT #33-55-77885-2013

DD: Honey?
HBB: Is that you snookums?
DD: Sure is, my sweet nookie wookie, delicious XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXXX, my. . .
HBB: Ohhhh, babay!
DD:  XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX  [A.S.S.: Following five minutes of conversation have been redacted as inadmissible pillow talk and not related to case.] The ball and chain has left for work and I got ahold of the cell for a few, and I simply had to chat with you.
HBB: Oh thank goodness. I have been longing for your call. Our short sojourn in Miami at the café just wasn’t enough to satisfy me.
DD: You will never know the amount of subterfuge I underwent to get some time alone. Ha! She thought she had left me safe in the hotel room. Silly woman, doesn’t she know that there is no lock beyond my powers! And I would not be denied being with you.
HBB: I still think Mama might have seen that I was gone and Chickadee is very suspicious. She kept asking about the long, wispy hairs that were caught in my tiara the other night. Good thing there was a pageant going on near that silly nerd convention. What is up with that?
DD: My SXXXX loves those things. She gets all excited and jittery at the mention of Star Trek and Battlestar Gallactica and anything scientificky. She practically was XXXXXXX herself when she found out she might have a chance to have a picture taken with George Takei. And let’s not even talk about the Power Rangers. It was pink this, and yellow that ALL NIGHT LONG! About the only thing that would have excited her more is if Neil deGrasse Tyson asked her out. She is such a science hussy. I mean, if David Hasselhoff called, she would XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX in the back seat of KITT.
HBB: It’s such a shame. She really should be watching pageants.
DD: I know it! I have to sneak all the time to catch your latest episode. It makes my pine for your XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Oh my XXXXXXXXXXXXX little XXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
HBB: [Inaudible recording, but sounding something like cooing].
DD:  Plus she hangs out with those Tejada characters whenever she is down there. Downright subversives, I tell you. Did you know that XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX and apparently XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX when XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. It is positively aberrant.
HBB: You wouldn’t hear of that stuff in Georgia, I tell ya!
DD: The trip down was terrible. A long layover in D.C. Made even worse because I was afraid we would not be able to consummate our rendezvous.
HBB:  Heavens no! I’d have crawled all the way to Washington to be with you, my furry ball of fun.
DD:  I mean, I love sitting in her lap, but with that plastic in the way. . .no fun!
HBB:  Stop it! Right now. You know I don’t like hearing about her. She just doesn’t understand our love.
DD: I know. But you have to forgive her. She has always been good to me, except when she posts unflattering pictures of me. . .and she doesn’t even give me a kickback on the profits.
HBB:  Shame! But it’s ok, cause I have enough money for us to escape to Brazil and live out or lives on the beach.
DD: Blame it on Rio. You are my Wild Orchid. My Samba Princess.
HBB: [Inaudible recording, but sounding something like cooing].
DD: SXXXX is a bit naïve. I’ve been sneaking out for years. I mean, why the heck does she think I sleep all the time when I am there, and that I sometimes look dazed and confused? I still remember that smoky jazz café, when you came sauntering in on the arm of XXXXXX XXXXXX. But one look from you, and I knew it was a match made in heaven.
HBB:  Oh, my little crumpet. My Yankee Hunk of Hirsute Happiness.  I remember it well.
DD:  She still doesn’t know it was me scratching on those Jay Z recordings, or that I was the main filmographer for over 100 porn & MTV videos, and that Bloomberg regularly consults with me after hours.
HBB: You are such a renaissance cat.
DD: It was hell though, getting out of those cruel bonds in order to escape the shackles placed upon me by SXXXX at times, shackles of jealousy and owner-love. [A.S.S.: Contact has been made with the NYSPCA over possible violations of animal cruelty laws.]
HBB: I rubbed away the pain.
DD: Yes, you did. Those fingers were so nice.
DD: And she left me alone for really long stretches. She said she was out with her friends, but I know it was LeBron. He wins a couple of championships and he thinks he’s Michael! Or even Kobe. He needs to get over himself, or he’ll be right back in Cleveland.
HBB: He was at Florida Con too!
DD: A geek of the highest maginitude.
HBB: My gosh, I didn’t know sports and nerdiness mixed.
DD: I still can’t fathom her love of sports.
HBB: Oh my. I need to take her to a Tupperware party.
DD: And recently she has been reading some poems by this nefarious Jotenko. He must be some Russian communist spy passing himself off as a member of the literati. I am on to him. I think I might know who he is.
HBB: He does not have long to live then.
DD: I’ll bury him so deeply the search for Jimmie Hoffa will look like kids in a sandbox.
HBB: Did you like the lobster and caviar and fresh catnip I sent?
DD: Indeed I did. SXXXX simply does not understand my love of fine dining and extravagance. Do you remember that party at Brad and Angelina’s? Class all the way. Especially the afterparty.
HBB: Heeeeeeehehehehehehe. I thought you’d never get my XXXXX off.
DD: It was chewy, but I prevailed.
HBB: Yes you did! [Cooing] Angelina was so kind to lend me one of hers.
DD: So, when will I see you again, my little peach cobbler?
HBB: I think there are some pageants in the Big Apple soon. Will you be able to sneak out.
DD: No problem, snookums.
HBB: Oh, my hero.
DD: I want to speak with your writers. I have a few ideas of how we can best use your talents.
HBB: They just don’t know my marketability.
DD: Oh, I think I hear someone coming in. SXXXX must be taking another half day. I’ve gotta go.
DD: You know it babe! See ya soon.
[Transmission ended here. Transcribed by Emily Bannerjo.]

Monday, July 1, 2013


In honor of my friend Sarah's cat Duffy Dean, the Miami Meow Machine, who starred in the series of detective adventures I penned on this site, I wrote this little poem. . .I guess you might call it a Tiddy Ditty.  I know it is silly and light, but that tends to be the poems many of my friends enjoy, when they like anything I write, so here goes:

Leonine, with wispy fur,
So soft it’d make a human purr.
Squinty eyes and button nose,
no stranger to a model’s pose.
Stalks the halls of Sarah’s lair,
a life of ease sublimely fair.
You may think he’s just a cat,
But we all know he’s more than that.