Playing with words

Photo by Patrick Tomasso

For one of the pieces in my forthcoming collection, smells like teen spirit, I devised a minor Oulipian constraint which I believe is unique. That is to say, I searched my reference shelf as well as the web and could not find the exercise. So if anyone out there has heard of it, please contact me (via the link on the “About” page) and I’ll refrain from bragging.

In the meantime… drum roll, please!

—– Regressive Text —–

Take a text (fiction or nonfiction) and use only the first sentence of each paragraph, starting with the last paragraph and working backwards to the first sentence.


I used a short story by O. Henry and was richly rewarded with a delightfully ironic ending:

The critics have assailed every source of inspiration save one.

This inspired me to add a variation to the regressive text:

italicize one word in each sentence and append the words “emphasis added” to the title.


Thus, using the above example, the last sentence became: 

The critics have assailed every source of inspiration save one.

I won’t reveal the story’s title here, but you’ll find it when the book is released. Let’s hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed tampering with it.


Not the cola

Advanced Mirthology


My collection—smells like teen ‘pataphysics—features signs of the phenomenon, oscillating pyramids, and  luminous vapors. It’s forthcoming from Black Scat Books and should be available in time for Xmas.

Allow me to whet your appetite with an hors d’oeuvre. [click image for larger view]

excerpt from smells like teen ‘pataphysics


Green is the New Black!…

…The new Black Scat book that is. THE BOOK WITH THE GREEN COVER.

Catchy title, eh?

This is my collection of verbo-visual treats — featuring freaked-up posters, charts, mock book & magazine covers, rectified readymades, typographic diversions, found novels, and other delicious detritus.

It’s profusely illustrated in FLAMING FULL COLOUR which really makes the pictures pop out.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a copy on Amazon. You’ll be glad you did and so will I.


Don’t knock my office…


Now I know it’s fashionable to knock Starbucks because they’re everywhere and—yes—the coffee is better at Peet’s, but…  (A big but here, if you’ll pardon my French) … because Starbucks has superior WiFi and a friendlier attitude.

I lost a few days trying to upgrade my OS to Mojave at Peet’s —  kept getting error messages. Chat support with Apple didn’t help either. Techie suggested I  reinstall Sierra, which I did, and arrived back at Square One.

Then I got smart and went across the street to Starbucks and—voilà-—the upgrade was a snap.

My second point (that’s if you’re counting — I’m not, I flunked math) is the sheer space I’m able to hog at Starbucks without complaints. An entire freaking table. (See the photo at the top of this page?)

Third point: I can sit here all day nursing a FREE vat of ice water and not spend a dime. Hell, I can even bring in my coffee from Peet’s and work until closing time. (Don’t try the reverse at Peet’s.)

If you’re wondering why I need to haul all this stuff into Starbucks in the first place…I’m on the road & doing freelance video editing.  So, for example, today I had to drag a bunch of humongous raw VOB files off a DVD and convert them into an editable format; then the edited video has to be exported to a file I can upload to YouTube.

It’s a lot like watching paint dry.

manilow onscreen

Yeah, that’s Barry Manilow and this extended interview with him is taking hours to convert. I won’t go into all the technical hassles that arise…like Adobe Media Encoder exporting video sans soundtrack—ugh!

The point is simply this: Starbucks lets me work in peace and doesn’t have a snotty attitude.

So don’t knock my office. It rocks.

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