Art: Hunter S. Thompson**


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“Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish — a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow — to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested…
Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.” —Hunter S. Thompson, American Journalist & Patriot, from Generation of Swine

**Note from the artist: When uploading the work, I noticed that the image looked different on my phone than it did on my computer after I finished up the edits. On my computer, the image looked fine to me, but, on the phone, it looked like someone had given Hunter a Trump spray tan. So I uploaded two copies. The first, the original, and the second, the edited copy to dim down the orangeness. If you’d be so kind as to let me know if this is how it appears for you and on what kind of device you’re looking at it on, that’d be greatly appreciated. 

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On The Nightstand: The Frank Marr Series By David Swinson


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Philip Marlowe drank Old Forester. Sam Spade drank a premixed Manhattan from a paper cup. Lew Archer drank, well, pretty much anything. But Frank Marr prefers uppers over downers. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t hit the sauce, uppers are just a preference, a powdery, snortable preference. And if all of those fictional Private Eyes but Frank Marr ring a bell, well, you should treat yourself to David Swinson‘s series.

How good is the Frank Marr series? Well, let’s just say that if these books were coke, Frank Marr would probably break into your house and do a line or two right then and there. These books are frankly addicting and each chapter leaves you wanting the next. Sure, you might say, “Just one more chapter and then bed time,” but pretty soon you’ll find yourself with bloodshot eyes wondering what the hell the sun is doing up. And before you know it, you’re done and itching for the next one.

Who’s this David Swinson guy anyway?

David Swinson is a film student turned music promoter turned decorated cop turned author. As a writer, he has published four books:

Why should I read these books?

Do you love crime and detective stories? Well, there you go. But if you need more of a push than that, I’ll give you a few reasons. Frank Marr, while cast from the Hard-Boiled Detective mold, isn’t your typical private investigator. Sure, he is a retired cop who doesn’t play by the rules, but there is a little more to him than that.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Raoul Duke and Dirty Harry had a baby? No? Oh well, that kid would probably turn out something like Frank Marr.

Frank Marr, as stated, isn’t just your momma’s (grandma’s?) Marlowe, Spade, or Archer either. And, despite the drugs, he isn’t any iteration of Sherlock Holmes. He is an honest shady character. Whether his actions are good or bad, legal or illegal, Frank is open about them in his narration and juggles these actions and choice as only a human can. At times, he knows his actions are affecting people, people he cares or doesn’t care about, in negative ways, but he handles them with the tools and skills he has on hand to varying ends. Frank is an addict but he isn’t blind to the addiction and the problems caused by it. It is a rough duality of character. In the first book, The Second Girl, Frank breaks into a drug dealer’s house looking for a score. Besides some drugs, what he finds is a kidnapped girl and a lode of internal conflict. Frank the addict needs and wants his score while Frank the retired cop/private eye has to save the girl and come up with a pretty damn good story as to how he found the girl.

One of the reasons I love good crime novels is that they discuss society and social issues as they are. And maybe David Swinson’s career as a Washington, DC detective adds to the realism of the setting and topics of the novels in such a way which elevates these stories from just good to great and memorable books. These books aren’t just about a crime but about who does the crime, who is affected by the crime, why people are drawn into it, and how there is a lot of grey area to be explored that is often overlooked. These stories take you from the inner city to the suburbs and explore themes like the effects of gentrification, how shitty high school is, police culture in the modern times, addiction, and redemption.

The Frank Marr series ticked all the boxes for me and I recommend it to anyone whether you’re interested in the genre or not. But if you are interested in the genre, it is a must read. After picking up the first book, I barely put it down and when I did, it was to get the next book. The third book came out in February and I stopped reading whatever it was I was currently reading and read it instead. They’re that addicting.

Score: A++ (yes, that’s an extra plus)

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“Hail To El Jefe” 2018 – Ash Vs. Evil Dead: In Memoriam


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In the age of superhero movies and nostalgic revamps/remakes/revisits, maybe Ash Vs. Evil Dead wasn’t the hero show audiences deserved but definitely the hero show we needed—to save us from the same old shit.

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Midwesterners know.

Ash Williams isn’t military trained nor an eccentric multi-billionaire but rather a one-handed ValueStop stockboy from Elk Grove, Michigan who unwittingly unleashes the Kandarian Demon while stoned in his trailer. He is more like your father, if your father was the kind of guy that would spend Christmas Eve drinking with friends and the day after Christmas waiting for his wife to bail him out of jail with his kids’ money they got as a gift. So maybe Ash isn’t the kind of hero whose action figure your kiddies are going to be clamoring for… or if they are, your parenting skills might need to be re-evaluated… but maybe your husband or boyfriend/wife or girlfriend might.

Most heroes fight for a cause that is greater than one’s self. Ash’s cause (before going Campbellian Monomyth in Season 3) was himself. When the villain gave Ash the choice between giving her the Necronomicon so she can unleash evil on Earth while Ash lives peacefully in Jacksonville, Florida or killing the villain but living with the responsibilities of the prophetized Chosen One, Ash chose **spoiler warning** Jacksonville. Because he “always wanted to spend some time in a city so nice they named it Jacksonville.”

Starz put out 3 seasons before cancelling it. It was a fun show while it lasted. I thought it was a shame that the show was cancelled, but it was 15 hours of comedy, horror, one-liners, and gallons and gallons of blood book-ended by Space Truckin’ and the word “groovy,” so I won’t complain.

Good people, Evil Dead fans everywhere, I bid you a heartfelt farewell playing Ash – the character I took acting lessons with for 39 years.

I am hereby retiring from that portrayal. It’s time. I followed Ash from his formative years thru his mid-life crisis and decline. What a thrill! What a privilege!

We had a great resurgence with the help of Starz (kudos not jeers, folks). They made it possible for 15 more hours of Evil Dead-ness in your life – the equivalent of 10 more features!

Is Ash dead? Never. Ash is as much a concept as a person. Where there is evil in this world, there must be one to counter – man or woman, it matters not.

Thanks for watching.

Love,

Bruce

 

 

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