Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Comic: I Hate Working With George

I got back into drawing comics this year because there didn't seem to be as many good ones around, so if I wanted to read more fun comics, it looked like I was going to have to make some of my own.

So I did.

Here's one of them.  Click on it to make it bigger.

For more Wred Fright fun, read my latest non-graphic novel, Fast Guy Slows Down!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Fun Pop Poetry!

My old Underground Literary Alliance buddy King Wenclas has a new zine out!  It's a collection of poetry he and Kathleen Crane edited.  It includes some poems by me that were previously published on New Pop Lit, along with a bunch of poems by others including another Underground Literary Alliance comrade, Emerson Dameron.  The production value is really nice.  Cool graphics and fancy paper, a far distance from the usual scruffy zines my stuff appears in, which usually look like someone made a tenth-generation photocopy that then got run over by a truck or two during a thunderstorm.  I just got it, so I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to digging into it!

For more Wred Fright writing, check out Fast Guy Slows Down!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

drinkdrankdrunk: "Freaks And Geeks" by The Midnight Rider

forgive me, but i’ll have to go to the photo album for this paragraph--there were dozens of freaks and/or geeks that passed through the halls of shady state over the last 10 years, plus you know i’ve been to some parties . . . some of the faculty/staff on this list got fired in less than a year, and i’ve forgotten many of their names . . . i like lists though:  1) i could never forget big bubba beth--a 450 lb. hillbilly who stalked me for 2 years before she ultimately got fired for sexually harassing someone else . . . no doubt, i’m fat, but big bubba beth was obese and had absolutely no self-esteem . . . like if you’re big/blonde/badass, then i’m fine with that; however, big bubba beth was reading self-help books on her drive into work . . . big bubba beth also claimed to have been molested by an unnamed relative when she was a child (and i’m not saying that she wasn’t), but it strikes me in 2017 that 50% of the damaged girls that i’ve met have a go-to story to explain away their neuroses . . . it’s not like i didn’t feel her pain either--and when she brought a present to my office every week, it reminded me of all the times i had brought presents to unrequited loves (that ultimately didn’t deserve a second of my time/energy) . . . big bubba beth “accidentally” ran into me in the hall 3-4 times a week, and i caught her driving by my house over 50 times--and yes, i’ve done the same goddamn things to random cunts-whose-names-i-don’t-remember over 1000 times . . . big bubba beth would generally text me 20 times a day, and i would usually respond once that i was going to the gym . . . on two occasions, big bubba beth got drunk and started pounding on my door screaming that if i didn’t let her in that she was going to “toilet-paper my house”--i didn’t break character though and hid in my bedroom closet just like mama taught me . . . 2) i may have mentioned the director of the shady state writing center before in relation to dirt dick fucking her in a hot tub at that kalifornia resort at 3 a.m. . . . alicia was 24 and ready-to-fuck anything-that-moved, but that’s about the only good thing that i could say about her . . . she was pudgy, dumb-as-a-rock, and her moustache was thicker than mine . . . she also considered herself to be pansexual (before that term even came into vogue) . . . she flirted with me, but then again, alicia flirted with everyone--most of her stories entailed fucking students (male or female) and then having them stalk her to the point where she had to file a police report . . . she was supposed to come over to my house one night after the school play to smoke, but never showed--and in retrospect, that was a good thing . . . alicia volunteered to direct the theater department’s production of rent in 2010 and that ultimately proved to be her undoing . . . i never sat in on a dress rehearsal, but supposedly there was “foul language, nudity, and live sex acts onstage” and the powers-that-be at shady state shut the production down right before opening night . . . i think alicia assumed that since she was pansexual, she could do no wrong, but even kalifornia feared the negative publicity that would spring from that lawsuit . . . i don’t know the particulars, but soon after the collapse of the play, alicia accepted a position as “director of transgender studies” at a small college in wisconsin . . . alicia always fancied herself as a writer and the last i heard of her, one of her plays was being performed off-broadway and had been reviewed by the new york times--a wise man even wished her luck on facebook and told her that she was a great writer (of course, he hadn’t read her play, but it’s bougie hip in 2017 to celebrate the wonders-of-the-pansexual) . . . i obviously haven’t read her work either, but i’m sure it was about her sex life---and since alicia was dumb-as-a-rock, it stands to reason that her writing was of an inferior quality to what you’re reading right now--ahhh, but new york loves transsexuals a shitload more than it loves me . . . 3) two-face sounds like a batman villain and in many respects, she was . . . two-face taught business at shady state for 3 years until she read the handwriting on the wall and bugged out for a job as human resources director at a factory in moline . . . two-faced wasn’t “two-faced” per se (she was a narc 24-7), and the nickname came from the amount of makeup she wore and how she looked in the afternoons versus the mornings (much like the batman villain) . . . two-face was tall/skinny and appeared to be smoking hot if you had an early meeting with her, but by 2pm, the makeup had dissolved and you got her real/nasty pock-marked face . . . two-face was a born-again christian and tattled on everyone that came within 100 yards of her . . . her office was down the hall from mine and i would cancel my office hours the moment i heard her the clap of her high heels . . . assburgers wasn’t so lucky, and she turned him into the deans for inappropriate comments/sexual harassment on 3-4 occasions during my tenure . . . i don’t know how many of my colleagues two-face turned in over the years for inappropriate comments/sexual harassment, but the urban legend was that my dean would have his secretary stall her (by asking two-face questions about the bible) while he snuck out the back door to avoid having to listen to her crap . . . part of two-face’s attitude stemmed from the fact that her husband was the local fire chief--and being the fire chief of a small town in iowa is akin to being royalty here whereas being the fire chief of my hometown simply means that the person has too many misdemeanors to be the police chief . . . 4) best of the worst:  there was a chubby, bespectacled dude that shady state hired to edit the school newspaper back in 2007 . . . no one knew where he came from, and he never spoke--that is until a random friday in march when he stopped by my office to ask if i hated shady state as much as he did--for all i knew the dude was a corporate spy, so i kept my mouth shut . . . over the weekend, the dude trashed the newspaper office and stole all the computers/files, and no one ever knew why . . . i don’t even know if they prosecuted him; he simply disappeared . . . there was also a weird cat-lady from alabama (by way of india) who brought all 6 of her cats to the faculty retreat in illinois . . . i was lucky enough to have the hotel room next to her and wound up cat-sitting whenever she went to lunch . . . she was in the biology department, and i don’t know the details, but it seems that the cat-lady called in sick whenever one of her cats was “sick” . . . one of her cats died during the winter and then she stopped coming in at all . . . there was also a really fat biology professor who turned out to be pregnant--she had incredibly bad body odor, and i remember her wearing sweatpants to the faculty meetings . . . she taught from august until she gave birth in april and then disappeared as well . . . the last person the biology department hired (before the fall) was a ph.d. from harvard who was reputed to have written a series of hardcore/gay sci-fi novels despite the fact that he was married to a woman . . . the first semester he was here, the dude failed 14 of the 16 students in his biology 101 class, and the little z was obliged to monitor his spring classes lest the dude scream/throw everyone out of the classroom for being “iowa idiots” . . . the dude knew i was from virginia, and whenever he saw me in the hall, he wanted to discuss hee haw in as much detail as possible . . . in retrospect, he was the koolest fucker on this list

The Midnight Rider prefers to remain mysterious.  You could visit his website, but he won't say where it is.  You could read his books, but he won't say what they are.  You could email him, but I'm pretty sure spam@gofuckyourself.gov is not a real email address.  In a world where everyone is repping their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, sex tapes, line of clothing, new microbrew, virus panic vaccine status, and overall brand, I find that refreshing.  I am happy to have The Rider ride on drinkdrankdrunk.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

drinkdrankdrunk: "The Big Stink" by Joe Smith


It’s a dark night in a city that’s forgotten about its dictionaries.  But on the first floor of a two-story house in Laurellia, one man is trying to find meaning in a world awash in words:  Guy Verbose, Existential Lexicographic Investigator.

We were late for church, but for once it wasn’t my fault.  Today, A and M were the laggards, even though they had been warned the night before that we were going to 8:00 am Mass and then attending the pancake breakfast to say good-bye to Fr. Mark.  Obviously, they didn’t care.  Against my advice, A and M are following in my footsteps and becoming night owls, and on this morning we were all paying for it.

L, a morning person, is the outlier.  So, while the kids and I were quiet and prickly as we drove along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, she was gregarious and bubbly.

“Remember that podcast I was telling you about?  This Podcast Will Kill You?  They were talking about C-diff and how it can be treated with a fecal transplant,” she said.

L is somewhat new to podcasts, so whenever she finds one she likes, she brings it up in conversation—a lot.  I’ve been through this before.  First it was Smartest Guys In The Room, a podcast by my brother and a friend of his from high school.  Then there was Smartless, with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett.  Now it’s This Podcast Will Kill You, a show anchored by two grad students named Erin who, according to the show’s website, use it as a way to “share their love of epidemics and weird medical mysteries with the world,” all while “having a cocktail and chatting about pus and poop.”

L is a microbiologist, so the subject matter of This Podcast Will Kill You is right up her test tube.

“A what transplant?” I asked.  I clearly heard her say “fecal,” but was aghast.

“A fecal transplant,” she said gleefully.  She knew full well that I heard her and that the idea made my empty, early-morning stomach roil.  “That’s where they give you someone else’s poop.”

I was able to put that together on my own.  Nevertheless, L was right.  A fecal transplant, or in scientific terms, a “fecal microbiota transplantation,” refers to the administration of a solution of fecal matter from a healthy person into the intestinal tract of an unhealthy recipient.  The aim of the procedure is to change the composition of the recipient’s gut microbiome.  It is among the podcast hosts’ “all-time favorite medical interventions.”

In addition to conjuring disgusting mental images, fecal microbiota transplantation has been used to successfully treat recurring Clostridium difficile (or C-diff) infections, which have become a common problem in hospitals.  The bacterium is difficult to control in institutional settings and those who develop an infection typically have a hard time getting rid of it.

“Why do they give you poop?” asked M from the back seat.

“It must be a way for them to introduce good bacteria into your body, to help you fight the disease,” I said, flashing my superficial knowledge of human biology.  I hoped the kids would be impressed, but they gave no such indication.

“Yeah.  It’s a way to change someone’s microbiome,” L said.

I wasn’t sure the kids knew what a microbiome was.  Chances are the people who invented the procedure didn’t know either.  Fecal transplants date back to fourth century China, when physicians used it to treat of a variety of conditions including diarrhea, which is also gross.  Of course, just because the procedure appears in the historical record does not mean it’s common.  If it was, it likely wouldn’t have been the subject of the podcast.  Still, records from more recent times indicate that doctors have used fecal enemas to treat conditions like inflammation of the colon since 1958.

*           *          *

The word feces1 has been around much longer than the procedure.  Eric Partridge’s Origins:  A Short Etymological Dictionary Of Modern English (which isn’t short at all) traces the word back to the Latin terms faex, which purportedly refers to “wine-lees,” or “impure residues.”  The Chambers Dictionary Of Etymology also links feces to faex, but defines the Latin word as “sediment” or “dregs.”  As for the English usage of feces to mean excrement, Partridge says this is “of obscure origin.”  So does Chambers, but the latter says the use of feces to mean poop began around 1400, when the word appeared in a translation of Lanfranc’s Science Of Surgery.

*           *          *

“So, how do they give you the transplant?” I asked.  “They must have to insert it in your small intestine or something.  They couldn’t put it in your stomach.  That would make you sick.”

“I don’t know how they do it,” L said.  “I didn’t catch that. I just heard them talk about fecal transplants and I found it fascinating.  Don’t you think it’s fascinating?”

“I think it’s gross,” I replied.

A and M laughed.  Finally, I was getting through.

“Oh, there’s a driving school.” L said.

“What does that have to do with fecal transplants?  She doesn’t have her permit . . . or C-diff,” I said.

“That’s how everyone does it now.  You take a class right before you take the permit test so it’s all fresh in your mind.  We need to find a school where we can take the course.”

I groaned in dismay.

“Don’t you think it’s a good idea?”

“No, it makes sense.  I guess I’m just not ready to deal with her driving.  It’s all too much.”

L laughed.  I smiled.  It was the best I could do.  I was trying to be funny, but as the old saying goes, there’s a half-truth in every joke.  How was A, the little girl who was scared of the sharks in Finding Nemo, old enough to begin driving?  Too many years had gone by.  Too many changes were taking place.  It was too much.

Fr. Mark had been around for eight years, long enough for us become chummy with him, and contemplating his departure reminded me of just how long both he and our family have been hanging around.  When we first met him, A was eight.  Soon we’d be teaching her to drive, watching her graduate from high school, and sending her off to college.  Then she’d be off on her own.  Likewise, I was 42 when Fr. Mark first appeared behind the altar.  Now I’m 50 and have an AARP membership.  I don’t feel that old, but when I think about Fr. Mark’s tenure, recall the priests who said the Masses before him, and did the math, I’m reminded of how many years have passed by.  Where had the time gone?

“Don’t you want your daughter to drive?" asked L.

“I think I’d rather have the fecal transplant,” I said.



1) Oddly, there is no entry for feces in The Oxford Dictionary Of Word Histories, the Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (Morris), or the Dictionary Of Word Origins (Ayto).  I guess the authors of these books found the inclusion of such a word in their texts to be beneath them.  Ha-ha.  Get it?  Beneath them?  Sorry . . .

Joe Smith is a longtime zinester who was a comrade in The Underground Literary Alliance.  He always has a cool new project in the pipeline, so check him out at https://www.butterlamb.org.  I am happy to feature his work on drinkdrankdrunk!