No Way…

Was there really a meeting between the person Joe considers the top celebrity in the world right now and the Sight Unseen Pictures team? Yup, it happened. Here’s the blog that explains how it all went down.

Read: Just So Happens… at the Sight Unseen Pictures blog.

You guys like playing victim, don’t you?

Racist. Sexist. Misogynist. Can’t go a day, it seems, without seeing some negative IST word trending on Twitter or being thrown around on Facebook. And, I barely do anything but post to FB so if your latest isn’t on page 1 where I find my announcements? I didn’t see it.

Couple years ago in an online forum, I got into a discussion about some failures of the current President. Someone challenged me to name them. I did. One that I threw out: Closing Gitmo. First executive order, never did it, despite having the majority in both houses. The response?

You’re a racist.

For years, I would hear from time-to-time, “You what?! You work in porn?! That’s sexist!” This, despite getting e-mail and snail mail submissions all the time from women showing off-naked-to see if they could get into the mags I worked on. Know what never happened when I was working in the adult biz? No guy ever came up to me and said: “You ran a boy-girl shoot? That’s sexist!” In fact, the same women I tended to meet who found pictorials of nude women sexist, couldn’t seem to figure out how to accuse me of sexism if there was a man involved.

I got a nasty note from someone who’d seen a comment of mine which referred to the old Wheaties box. You know, the one from way back, with Bruce Jenner busting through the tape with his arms raised. The criticism? “That’s Caitlyn Jenner-not Bruce!”

1976 Wheaties Box featuring Bruce Jenner

1976 Wheaties Box

Uh, no, it isn’t. And, while I have no problem referring to Caitlyn Jenner as Caitlyn/she/Ms. Jenner *now*, in the present tense, Caitlyn Jenner never competed in the Olympics. Back then, it was Bruce Jenner winning the decathlon, no one else. His own mom admitted she’s going to be calling Caitlyn Bruce for a while. And, I can’t blame her. After 88 years, might take a while to start addressing your child by a different name, no? I’m pretty sure that it took more than 15 minutes for Mrs. Leach to go from calling her son Archibald to Cary, which was the stage name Archibald Leach took when he became slightly more famous as Cary Grant. Clearly, his mom hadn’t had “Cary” in mind. And so, while I have no problem calling the newly-introduced Ms. Jenner Caitlyn, if I’m talking about a cereal box from the ’70s? Yeah, that was Bruce Jenner, not Caitlyn.

Which doesn’t make me anti-transgender. Doesn’t make me anything IST or OBIC. It makes me accurate. And, when I see people getting torched for tweeting/posting things like, “I’ll always remember him as Bruce.” it turns my stomach. As well, I don’t believe anyone should be punished for sentiments like that. I spent decades seeing Bruce Jenner at sporting events. Cashing in on his post-Olympics success. Commentating at track and field events. On the Wheaties box. Heard him interviewed more times than I would’ve imagined possible the past couple of years because of his time on the Kardashians reality show. And, for all those years, he was Bruce. He was a he. So now, in a week or two, the whole planet is supposed to forget Bruce ever existed, not refer to Caitlyn as the former-Bruce Jenner, and <<gasp!>> never, not once, even inadvertently or accidentally refer to Caitlyn as “him” lest they be labeled a bigot, or anti-trans, or somethingaphobic? Really?

Sick of people (and I’m not including Jenner in this, I’m speaking more about the folks who fly into a rage about anything they smell a hint of ISM or OBIA about-attacking folks who really don’t owe you a damned thing. The person who got in a huff because I correctly denoted that it was Bruce on the front of my Wheaties box growing up? I told to go pound sand. I made a post on FB today referring to that incident, requesting that if anyone following me felt the same, to please send their own message so I could unfriend them because I don’t mind doing the work. What I do mind is being mislabeled. Guess what? When Obama won, my Dad was in realty. I rooted hard for the Prez to succeed. I rooted hard for a quick economic turnaround so my Dad could sell more properties. But a couple of years later, when I criticized him for his failure to do the very first thing he promised to do-and made a big deal of in a photo op Day 1 in office – suddenly, I had become a racist. Total BS, of course, but that’s what these mouth-breathing knee-jerkers cry. Because they love to play the victim. “You work at a place where they publish photos of nude women – you must be a sexist!” Oh yeah, dumb-ass? Why? Did I force her to send me nude test shots, then track her down and make her strip for a photographer against her will? No? Then was it because I was the one okaying the checks for $500 (or more) for 4 hours worth of work on her schedule and at her convenience? Tell me, which part of that was actually sexist to you?

Victim-victim-victim. That’s all these people want to know. Victimhood. Don’t agree with the PC Police? You’re a hater. You need to be forced to apologize on TV. You need to resign. You need to be fired from your job. You need to be boycotted. Not famous enough on your own or a public figure? Well, then, you need to be ostracized and condemned with the most bitter vitriol possible.

Y’know, like Bruce Jenner’s-oops, I mean Caitlyn Jenner’s-mother. Right, fellowhood-of-victims?

The Box

Back in the ’60s, (I’m not exactly sure of the year, but my Mom probably remembers), she bought my Dad a treasure chest jewelry box. Why, no one’s quite sure, as my Dad wasn’t very big on jewelry and truth be told, they hadn’t been married long and they didn’t have much between ’em. As I recall, Dad had a watch, his wedding band, a couple of tie tacks and a recently-gotten pair of cufflinks. But, I guess Mom saw an opportunity to get him something cool, so he could keep it all in one place.

That box was pretty common back then. The kind of thing you could get at Gertz. Or Stern’s. Or at A&S or Gimbels. (Getting the picture? This thing outlasted all those department stores and a number of others.) You would see them on display in store windows, with spiffy rings and baubles jewelers and other shopkeepers were hawking.

That box was a fixture on my Dad’s dresser for as long as I could remember. Inside? Well, most of its contents never moved. Oh, sure, his wedding ring and watch went in and out of the same compartments, but otherwise? If he got a watch (as he did from the bank one year), it would find a spot in the bottom compartment. Cufflinks sort of went out of vogue. He had an American flag tie tack I remember him wearing a couple of times, but tie tacks and tie bars? They didn’t stay trendy long beyond the ’80s.

Old Subway Token

Old Subway Token

In the bottom compartment, I remember Dad having some mementos. A ticket to see the ’69 Mets. Ticket stubs for the reopening of Yankee Stadium after the big renovation in (if I remember right) the mid-1970s. A stub from the Rangers vs. Russians game from the 1975 matchup at Madison Square Garden against Red Army One. A subway token with the punched out Y. Oh, and of course, extra ChapSticks. He always had extra ChapSticks in there. We used to joke over the years about what we wanted when my parents passed. We’d be sitting around in the lanai after Mom and Dad moved to Florida, having a holiday dinner, talking about “dividing up the inheritance.” Dad would usually mention it after someone questioned what Mom had paid for a particular Christmas decoration, and so it would go. Who’d get the coffee can filled with pennies he and Mom had used for card nights over at my Aunt and Uncle’s? Who’d get the collection of silver dollars
still stored in a glass jar from back in the mid-’60s.Who’d get the Monet?

Me? I wanted the box. That was it. Even now when we joke around, I tell my Mom not to leave anything but bills. I don’t need anything, I don’t want anything. Neither does my sister. Nothing more than her to have fun while she’s still here and not to worry about leaving anything behind.

Old Jewelry Box

This vintage jewelry box is just like my Dad’s.


The box? By the 1980s, you could find them for $5 at flea markets. They’d become kitsch. So many were made, I believe, that despite the cool design that had made it iconic, it wasn’t enough to impress anyone any more. But even back then, I didn’t have much jewelry or wear much. A herringbone chain with a hockey mask charm on it from my Aunt Rae. Dad’s old signet ring. A pocket watch I bought, hell, I can’t even remember where. Didn’t matter, though. Someday? I’d get the box. And then it would grace my dresser, as it had Dad’s. I wasn’t in any rush.

Fast forward to 2012. Dad passed away. Like zombies, we went through getting done what needed to be done. Arrangements. His cremation. His blowout memorial service at Pine Lakes. Relatives in town. Going through his closet. Donations. And so on. It wasn’t until a couple of months later that my Mom started bringing up what me and my sis, and the grandkids, might want. And, she went through a laundry-list of things. None of which any of us really wanted to cover just then. Plus, it wasn’t like we needed to go through his stuff. It was Mom’s, after all. Besides pictures and maybe things of sentimental value???

So, I mentioned the box. Now, remember. I’m blind. Haven’t seen the thing, at the time, in probably 15 years, 10 of which were due to sightlessness. Which was when I found out.

“What? His jewelry box? That thing’s gone. It’s been gone for years.”

Gone? I couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t understand it, is more like it. Why? What had happened? Had it finally fallen apart after 50 or so years in service?

Nope. Apparently, no one ever thought I was serious about it.

Sometime either right before my parents moved down to FL, or right after, it got donated. Goodwill or Kiwanis or Salvation Army is my guess.  Last Christmas, I asked Pam to go on eBay and find me one. I mean, these things were mass-produced. They were never very expensive. I was sure she could find one someone was getting rid of for a couple of bucks.

Pictured, is what my sister finally located online. And, it’s the box all right, albeit a little bigger model. Right down to the side chains, the little embellishments, and the metal hasp. Same interior lift-out tray, same compartments, pretty much the same everything. Wasn’t $5 bucks, either, but I guess maybe I’m not the only sentimental fool out there trying to track down 50 year old kitsch for reasons beyond nostalgia.

Wish I’d known at the time Dad was going to get rid of the original. He’d have given it to me in a heartbeat if he’d known I was serious about wanting it. As for the contents? Maybe I might see if Mom still has some ticket stubs around. She doesn’t get rid of much. She’s already given me one of his watches, and one of my nephews another.

Me? I’ve already gotten a head start. You can’t go wrong having an extra ChapStick sittin’ around.
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Currently listening to: “Under the Milky Way Tonight” by The Church

From the big time to hard time

Is there any athlete dumber than Aaron Hernandez? In case you don’t
recognize the name, Hernandez was a Pro-Bowl caliber NFL player who signed a
$40 million (yes, you read that right, $40 million) dollar contract just
under three years ago with the current Super Bowl champion New England
Patriots. Unfortunately for Hernandez, however, he couldn’t leave the thug
life behind, and just got convicted of first degree murder. While I’ll skip
the “He’s going from tight end to wide receiver” jokes, here’s some thoughts
on this latest development.

First, it’s nice to see Hernandez get the long-term deal he

A $40 million contract to play ball on Sundays. A good looking wife. A new
kid. Guy went from having the life, to having the life-without.

I hope the next balls Hernandez catches are from a hardcase at Cedar
Junction named Big Rodney.

As writer Greg Bedard points out, on a good Sunday, Hernandez will probably
be able to hear the crowd at Gillette from the yard at Cedar Junction.

When the cellblock doors slam, I imagine at Lights Out, ol’ Aaron will be
rethinking some of the play calls he made off the field.

The Longest Yard will never be amusing again for Hernandez after that
verdict came down.

Hernandez goes from a guy who, on an average day, couldn’t fit his wallet in
his pocket, to a guy who may soon be able to fit a regulation football in
his prison wallet.

When the guy standing behind him yells “Go deep!” it isn’t gonna be anything
remotely like when Tom Brady did it.

And finally, while his stardom may protect him for a while, I can only hope
that a bunch of bad-ass Pats diehards behind the walls who blame Hernandez
for hurting the team prior to their latest Super Bowl, turn this lowlife
into a shiv magnet.

I’d Be Embarrassed

I don’t know what college is like these days, but despite being a couple
decades removed from the experience, I can’t bring myself to believe that
the same institutions that were around when I was at Fordham have so totally
fallen to pieces that students have become such cowards they’re *so* afraid
of a movie screening that they wanted to ban it.

I remember when I looked forward to going to college for the promised
“exchange of ideas.” To be immersed in an environment where you were taught
to question everything, and to have the courage to stand up with a notion
that wasn’t mainstream, and put it forth. To enter the debate (no matter
what it was), if you had an opinion you believed was worth sharing.

That kids today are too freaked out to allow American Sniper to be shown on
campus makes me embarrassed *for* them. Is this what we’ve become? We’re
raising kids so frail that they can’t tolerate a movie they’re not keen on
seeing? That they can’t spend that time on the quad or at a local haunt or
at an off-campus theatre or the mall or.heck, y’know.studying?

Listen, if you’re so unhinged by a film, go into your crappy bathroom, take
a good long look in the mirror, and admit out loud: “I’m no different than
those people who want Harry Potter banned from school libraries.” Go on, do
it. Because, when it comes right down to it? That’s the truth. You’re no
better than the types of fundamentalists people point at and make fun of for
being unwilling to tolerate a different view. You’re no different than the
folks who didn’t want Brokeback Mountain to play at their local theatre; no
different than the preacher who wanted to burn Qurans; no different than the
Westboro Baptist Church fanatics and those like them, who believe that books
featuring gays or sinners or messages questioning their philosophy are the
work of the devil. C’mon, step into line. You belong right next to ’em.

It’s a movie. You don’t like the protagonist or the subject matter? So what?
You don’t like war and snipers? Too bad. You don’t want your campus to be a
place where creative expression is encouraged? Well then, go home. Because
clearly, you’re unfit to take up space at a college like Univ of Michigan,
and your spot should be held for someone more open-minded. For those of you
pausing for a moment to consider your rationale for wanting the film banned?
Grow up. Don’t like fraternities? Don’t pledge. Don’t like religion? Don’t
go to church. Don’t like the editorial slant of your local newspaper?
Subscribe to a different one online. Don’t like a movie? Go play on your
iPad or find something else to do for a couple of hours. Don’t prevent those
who *do* want to experience the film from doing so because of your issues
with it.*that’s* free expression. That’s being open. That’s being tolerant.
And, most important?

That’s *not* being a coward.


As some of you saw, new WordPress plug-in was a failure, and blogging by e-mail left just as many Ev – Subject:s in once uploaded, if not more. Latecomers just saw the edited, “Looks fine to me… version. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

The more I hear U2’s The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) the more I think: 20 years ago, this would’ve been a future track, currently in its gelatinous, incubation stage. And yeah, I *can* hear the promise of U2 circa 1982 buried in this thing, which should’ve been left in the oven a while longer before being released. My thought is, either they just rushed it, or they’ve gotten so complacent they thought this was ready to go. I hope it’s the former and the Apple money, and this isn’t just the creative end of the road for Bono & company.

Is it just middle age, or am I the only one noticing that not only does every male singer who goes by their own name sound the same, but that whine-singing has become the norm? What? No one in the top 40’s got a voice any more? No one can hit a note? And, if they can’t hit it, instead of working around their vocal shortcomings, they drop down and squeak out a sad, raw, college radio sound? Really? Is that what sells now? Heard a guy on the Link the other day (the local, uh, ‘Modern Music” station) and could’ve sworn it was an old Cheryl Crow B-side.

Speaking of middle age (and yeah, I’m getting more comfortable calling it that, although technically it’s gotta be old age, because the odds of me making it to a hundred are pretty freaking lousy), reason I need to put up a pool #58: I’m too lazy to haul my ass in and out of the shower three times a day after working out. I’m going grey already, so the chlorine I can tolerate. But the whole warm water in a state as humid as Florida, lather, rinse, lather, rinse, shampoo, rinse, dry off thing is getting’ old *fast* with all the treadmilling and Bowflexing, and if we get the new equipment Pam and I are talking about investing in? Well, one of those spring-up pools better be part of the mix.

Is there anyone more intolerant than someone who demands you accept them as they are…who then proceeds to tell you who they are in more detail than any stranger you’ve ever met? Hey, chief, it’s a big world. I don’t give a damn about how transgender you are behind me at Wendy’s while I’m trying to figure out if I want the chicken sandwich or a double with cheese and onions, all right? Take your gender-neutral bullshit out in the parking lot and ram it down your friend’s throat. I can’t even see you, so no, I don’t give a damn that you’re expressing yourself and your identity is just as worthwhile as anyone else’s. Get your fu@k!ng debit card out and just pay for your unsalted baked potato and eat like other human beings, all right? The line at a fast food joint is *not* automatically a “teaching moment” for everyone around you, got it?

I’m convinced that the Spotify algorithm figures out what you like, and then tries to drive you to Pandora if you don’t wanna pay the $10 a month for basic radio. Heck, I don’t mind listening to a commercial or two an hour, guys. You get big money from those advertisers. If you want $10 a month out of me just so I can hit Skip when you keep playing the same 15 songs??? Piss off. Iggy Pop’s been recording since the ’70s. If I tune in to an Iggy Pop/similar artists station, don’t tell me that between Iggy, Bowie, the Velvet Underground, the Ramones and the Kinks you can’t come up with a playlist that I can work out to for 2 hours without repeating anything. And, if I hear Real Wild Child two days in a row, and Space Oddity, and Rebel Rebel in the same order? Why should I have faith in your music service when you’re screaming at the top of your lungs that your catalog blows and you don’t have enough songs to round out an afternoon, much less a month?

I think Don Imus should set up live outside Al Sharpton’s offices and sit there and broadcast until the race-baiting Reverend issues a statement on the Kentucky kid who called that basketball player from Wisconsin a ‘nigga.’ C’mon, Al, where’s the outrage? I guarantee if Imus had said, “Fu@k that nigga” about one of the Kentucky hoopsters, you’d have been boycotting him the way you did when he made the “Nappy-headed ho’s” comment years ago. Why aren’t you up in arms now, huh Al?

I’m not into the texting slang, and the lingo that goes along with typical online chatter. I don’t like using 3s for Es, I’m not into waz over was, I don’t much like any of that crap. However, since I’m still testing out the blog plug-in, I’m going with the Z in today’s blog title so it’s easy to search. I know…That’s not hipster! but too bad.

Got a good chunk of the intro to the new horror story done last night. Of course, something struck me after I’d been trying to get to sleep for an hour, and then Whammo!—inspiration. But I rode it ’til about 4:45am, and liked what I read this morning when I got off the treadmill. So far, so good, at least insofar as rough drafts go. Gonna be subbing this one to an upcoming anthology, so will keep you folks posted about what happens and when/where it’ll be released, even if it’s not published in that book. I can always put it up on Kindle as a stand-alone if need be.

Knowing that the Nassau Coliseum is closing still depresses me. There will never be another building like Fort Neverlose when the Isles were dominating the NHL and winning 4 straight Cups. It was something else, being a young fan in those days (I was there with Dad the night they beat the North Stars for Cup #2). The Brooklyn Islanders??? How did they ever let that happen. 

I’ve become far less militant in my anti-Pepsi lifestyle. Probably because Diet Pepsi works a little better for my diet milk & chocolate-syrup sodas, but probably also because if it’s a buck a bottle? I’ll drink just about anything. That WalMart Sprite knock-off? I can’t tell the difference. But their cola? Sorry, guys, not at any price. That stuff needs some serious work.

Enjoy the week, especially you baseball fans. Even you folks in Chicago. Just think, the Cubs aren’t out of it yet…

Goings On

Well, testing out the new plug-in Pam installed, see if I can finally blog  via e-mail. When we tried this last time there were all sorts of problems,  so here’s hoping that the blog title appears properly and it doesn’t look  like monkeys typed the blog itself.

Completed a new zombie story two weeks ago, then had to jump on a freelance  assignment, after which I continued to work in my zombieverse on another new  tale, both featuring ongoing characters. That was going great ’til the day  before yesterday, when I was talking to a fellow scribe about a new  anthology that was looking for subs. I liked the concept, and even though  it’s from a publisher I’m not familiar with and I had given up on subbing to  companies where I hadn’t seen a consistent body of work, I decided to give  it a shot. Now, assuming I can bang out the story I want to tell, we’ll see  what happens.

As for the zombie tales (of which 4 originals are now sitting in the  drawer), I’ll be using two of them to help garner sign-ups for the  newsletter, along with a non-zombie tale that won’t be published elsewhere  until Fall 2016, when I hope to have another collection of short stories to
release. There’s also some other publishing options in play, so will keep  you posted as I get closer to making those announcements. Until then, drop  me a line if the blog doesn’t come thru looking like it should, or there’s  funny characters in the title/header. Sometimes? The screen reader and I  aren’t on.the same page.
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Currently listening to: Bang Bang by Iggy Pop

Making for a Banner Year

Haven’t done this in a while, but since we have plenty of projects in the works for 2015, we’ve started taking advertisers again. First up, a fellow Sunshine state biz, The Appliance Store, located in Sanford, Florida, and able to cover all your appliance and appliance parts needs. 

I know the guy who runs this place, and let me tell you first-hand, from experience: Good people. And I think that’s one of the things you want when dealing with products like major appliances. I mean, you need a $13 hand blender? Sure, they’re disposable now. But you need a washer or a ‘fridge? That’s a different story. And that’s why I put Jerry and his store up first in the banner rotation. If I needed a new somethingorother? This is a guy I would buy one from, without a doubt.  So, for all my FL locals who might be in the market? Bookmark their site. You never know when you’re gonna need something cleaned, or cold, or dried fast.  And within reason? Jerry and his gang deliver.


The Appliance Store

Meet Lori

Mentioned a couple of weeks back, before I got sick, that I’d be posting pics of my new guitar. This, however, isn’t that guitar. Oh, it’s my new one, but it isn’t the Epiphone Wildkat Pam and my Mom and my sis & her family had chipped in for with Billy. The Wildkat had some serious problems, so Billy and I went back, spent about four hours testing out guitars, and I came home with this one. An Epiphone ES 335, which was originally in the $599 range, but which I got for around the same price as the Wildkat.

Joe, Billy & John Jamming

The thing is fantastic. Not only is it gorgeous, it’s an archtop, which I’d been looking for. (I chose this over a Fender Stratocaster, because I like the semi hollow-body better, and the ‘Strat felt tiny in comparison.)

Anyway, my other Epiphone (the one featured in the videos on my YouTube channel when we played Backstreets for my Mom’s birthday), is affectionately referred to thanks to the modifications Scott made for me, as The Halloween Machine. This one has no such modifications.yet. But Scott will be working on a significant one shortly, which is why I’ve named this cuddly 6-string Lori.


Sounds pretty nice, eh? And, yup, that’s F major ringing out (well, for me, most of the time.) This was Tuesday night at Billy’s, with John Fairfield on bass. This was only the second time I’d tried the song, and the first time John had played it since he learned it-back in 8th grade. Hence, some chords being called out as John didn’t have the tab. Fun stuff. Hopefully we’ll have a new song up on the channel soon, we’ve been working on a bunch of different tunes, and will get around to recording another before long.

Birthday Shots and Video!

Me and my meal - sesame chicken!

I had the pork dumplings and sesame chicken!

Okay, so the 21st marked another trip around the sun for yours truly, so Pam and I celebrated at Sakura (yes, that plate was clean well before the check came), before heading out to BackStreets to see Billy play and hook up with some friends. Now, most of you know I rarely drink, so when my birthday comes around, it really isn’t that big a deal. However, this Saturday, VickiJo and Shelly both made it a point to tell me they were going to do shots with me, so… Pam got both events on video. I’m not sure what VickiJo got me, but it had a beer base, pineapple juice, grenadine, something else and then an amaretto bomb dropped into it right before you shoot it. Verdict? Mmm …not bad. But then, I do like the fruity stuff, and hell, how can you beat pineapple juice? 

Pic of Joe finished with his meal.


Now, with Shelly on the other hand… I told Pam I was going to celebrate my birthday Hard Boiled style— as in, like Chow Yun Fat in the John Woo action classic. Chow does a drink called a tequila slammer. Basically, straight tequila, a shot of grenadine and a splash of 7 Up. You cover the top of the glass, slam it on the bar, it fizzes like crazy and you shoot it. Thanks to Shelly, we did it with Patrón , although that didn’t make much of a difference to her. Basically, it’s not a terribly pleasant shot, and for me, since I don’t get buzzed, it was all about remembering Chow pounding that thing and how great it looked on camera. 

Shelly, for your birthday, promise, I’ll buy us one of whatever you want. Johnny Vegas, Fireball…, or maybe something with milk and a lot of Vermouth.

Here’s the vids. Enjoy, gang, don’t get to see this all that often.
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Currently listening to: “Machine” by Theatre of Tragedy