David Barbee’s A Town Called Suckhole – The South after Civil War II

This book, if I may borrow from Henry Miller, is a gigantic gob of spit shot straight into the face of the South. Since this is not a blog of academic criticism, where I’d have to hide behind a bunch of jargon about semiotics or Marxist theory, I’ll be frank about my feelings toward the South, and start by disclosing that I’m a Yankee. I grew up in Michigan, moved to San Francisco and lived there for decades, then moved to Las Vegas at about the same time as all the rest of the North.

I admit I’ve never understood the South. Why the water cannons and police dogs turned on Civil Rights demonstrators? Why the Confederate flags? Why the TV evangelist con artists?  Why the Dukes of Hazzard? 

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Paul Krassner’s Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut – Misadventures in the Counterculture

Four years after President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963, a serious debate ensued as to whether or not his vice president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, had performed an act of necrophilia on Kennedy’s corpse as it was being transported back to Washington in Air Force One.

The story went that Jackie walked into the hold, where Kennedy’s body was laid out for the trip, to find Johnson humping away, fucking Kennedy’s neck wound. The story further went that this was why those investigating the assassination had difficulty ascertaining whether Kennedy had been shot from the front or behind—because Johnson had enlarged the neck wound so much, it appeared to be an exit wound. Continue reading Paul Krassner’s Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut – Misadventures in the Counterculture

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Vegas Knockout by P Moss – The Glue That Holds Vegas Together

When you mix Vegas with boxing, the result is always something unexpected. Like in 1991, when Mike Tyson destroyed Razor Ruddock in seven rounds, but because the ref stopped the fight while Ruddock was still (miraculously) standing, one of the biggest melees in fight history broke out and the ref had to be escorted from the ring by armed guards.  (Vegas demands the coup de grace.)

Or how about in 1993, when Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe were battling it out for the heavyweight title, and in the seventh round a man parachuted into the ropes, stopping the bout for half an hour while security tried to figure out what the hell was happening. Then in 1994, George Foreman stunned the fight crowd at the MGM Grand when he KOed Michael Moorer in the 10th round to become the oldest fighter (at age 45!) to ever win a championship. The underdog bettors made a fortune on that one!

Then there was the infamous 1997 heavyweight bout between Tyson and Holyfield, in which Tyson bit off part of Holyfield’s ear. I could go on. Continue reading Vegas Knockout by P Moss – The Glue That Holds Vegas Together

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Henry Miller’s Black Spring – Always Merry and Bright!

Initially published in 1936, Black Spring was banned in the U.S. for almost 30 years as obscene, suffering the same fate as Tropic of Cancer, which was published two years earlier, and Tropic of Capricorn, which was published two years later. It was only as a result of Grove Press’s sheer doggedness in the early 1960s  in appealing the obscenity rulings that the U.S. Supreme Court finally overturned them, and declared Miller’s works to be literature in 1964.

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I Knocked Up Satan’s Daughter: Carlton Mellick III vs. Thomas Aquinas

Those of you not deeply indoctrinated into the Roman Catholic faith (and by “deeply indoctrinated” I mean you studied for the priesthood, or at least took graduate- level theology courses) probably know little about “succubi.” Even many devout Catholics are unaware of these demons, as the Summa Theologica is not studied in catechism classes for the laity. But it’s okay. That’s why I’m here. I spent a critical formative year of my adolescence in the Holy Ghost Fathers Seminary in Ann Arbor, Michigan, so let me clue you in. Continue reading I Knocked Up Satan’s Daughter: Carlton Mellick III vs. Thomas Aquinas

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Blue Vegas by P Moss – Nostalgia for the Bad Old Days

All 14 short stories in this collection by P Moss take place in modern day Las Vegas, but most of them also have links to old Vegas through the characters and their memories. By “old Vegas,” I’m referring to pre-corporate Vegas—Vegas before the Feds squeezed the mobsters out on behalf of the multinational corporations.

A lot of us who remember old Vegas have fond memories of what this town once was, and it wasn’t all that long ago. A thousand articles have been written in the past thirty years describing the Disneyfication of Vegas and all the attractions added to widen the consumer base—the pirate ship and the volcano and the roller coasters and white tigers—but not much ink has been spent describing what was subtracted. Continue reading Blue Vegas by P Moss – Nostalgia for the Bad Old Days

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Bizarro Fiction 101: Reviews of Works by Carlton Mellick III, Gina Ranalli and Athena Villaverde

In The Haunted Vagina, Steve is in love with his girlfriend, Stacy, and he loves having sex with her. But it disturbs him that he hears voices coming from her vagina. She tells him not to worry, that her vagina is haunted, that it’s been haunted for many years. No big deal.

Then, one afternoon, while Steve and Stacy are having sex, a life-size skeleton with a bad attitude crawls out of Stacy’s vagina. In a panic, Steve cracks its skull open with the nightstand and the creature dies on the bedroom floor. Freaked out, Steve is finally coming to the conclusion that it might be time to say adios to this babe. But Stacy doesn’t want him to leave. Continue reading Bizarro Fiction 101: Reviews of Works by Carlton Mellick III, Gina Ranalli and Athena Villaverde

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Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary – Only Fools Fall in Love

Whoever would have thought that Hunter S. Thompson had a soft, sensitive side, a deeply emotional side, pained by loneliness? The Rum Diary is a love story, the only love story Thompson ever wrote, and in my opinion, it’s his best work. Love without romance is not easy to pull off. Sex without romance is a piece of cake, which is what we usually get in dick lit. But The Rum Diary isn’t porno. There’s not much graphic sex in this book, just a bit at the end, by which time you’re aching for it. This is a love story. Continue reading Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary – Only Fools Fall in Love

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The Grifters by Jim Thompson – Robbers and Robbers

Jim Thompson is regarded in literary circles as a master of noir fiction. His books are published by Random House and many of them are available in hardback editions. It didn’t used to be that way.

The Grifters was first published in 1963 and I first read it in 1963. I got it off a rack in a dime store. The book was not what we call today a “trade paperback,” which is a larger format than the standard pocket-size pulp paperback, generally a book that is judged to have some literary merit; no, this was a pulp paperback, which at that time probably sold for 75 cents. I believe all of Thompson’s novels initially came out as pulp fiction. Read ’em and throw ’em away.

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American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – Pervert or Prophet?

I read this book the way I watch grizzly slasher films. I squint my eyes so they’re barely open and quickly scan over the gruesome parts, trying not to comprehend too much, but for some godawful reason, I’m unable to just turn the page and move on to the next scene. Bret Easton Ellis will be remembered for this book—one of the strangest “horror comedies” ever to spew from a mind more twisted than Edgar Allan Poe’s, more macabre than H.P. Lovecraft’s, and more harrowing than Stephen King’s. With American Psycho, Ellis raised the bar for thriller writers.

Allow me to reproduce here just a few sentences of a scene that goes on for a number of pages. WARNING: I’m not joking. Continue reading American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – Pervert or Prophet?

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