Changing the Past!

I deleted a post promoting a sale that’s no longer in effect, but that made it look like my “daily updates” pledge was a big, fat lie. Therefore, I am deceptively back-dating this post so it fills the gap.

Conquering the Podcast Frontier…?

This weekend I recorded the very first episode of my podcast! 

And……….there will be some reworking of the concept, so this week I will be re-recording the very first episode of my podcast.


Free Story: “The Drop”

“Special Features” had a nice eight-month run as the free story on my website. It will be missed, unless you buy Gleefully Macabre Tales, in which case you can read it as many times as you want. Its successor is a piece of flash fiction called “The Drop.”

To read it, just click on “Free Story” on the menu in the upper right-hand corner of this very page.

More Gum Hilarity!

I just can’t stay away from these uproariously funny Dubble Bubble comics!

And the first one is…aw, c’mon, seriously? This is the FOURTH time I’ve gotten the “rabbit on the TV” joke. For those of you thinking “You’re a damned liar!” I’ve scanned them as evidence.

That’s all I can take for today.

The Search Continues…

…for one of these Dubble Bubble cartoons that doesn’t suck. I’ve wasted much rock-solid gum in the search, but eventually there’s got to be one with SOME mild humor value, right? Let’s do another five…

Another cut-off one. Doesn’t count.

Another cut-off one. Doesn’t count.

Okay: “Sue, is Pud home from school yet? Look at the hat rack.” In the second panel, Sue is looking at the hat rack, and there’s a dunce cap on it! “Yes, he’s home!” she reports. Why would Pud wear his dunce cap home and hang it on a rack? I guess it’s because he’s really, really stupid. Maybe his teacher is really mean and he’s doing it out of fear, but I’m going to give Fleer Gum the benefit of the doubt and say that the cartoon’s point is that Pud is such a dumbass that he’d bring home his dunce cap instead of discarding it. So I’m going to officially claim that this one has mild humor value.

That was too easy. Let’s see if there’s a funnier one.

“These shoes cost too much! I want to see something cheap!” “Look in the mirror!” I like that the kid with the shoes has a question mark above his head, as if he doesn’t realize that he’s just been dissed.

Another cut-off one. Doesn’t count.

Another cut-off one. Doesn’t count.

This one is just a sight gag. A kid is playing his guitar and singing, and a guy in the background is using a plunger on a sink. Whoa! Apparently that guy didn’t like the singing, because the kid now has the plunger stuck to his face! (And he’s got another question mark next to his head. Apparently he was under the mistaken impression that people enjoyed his singing! Welcome to harsh reality, kid!)

Hey, another music-themed one! What are the odds? So Pud is sitting there next to his violin, reading a comic book, and a cat is next to him howling. And this guy in the other room says “Pud, you’re getting better on the violin!” And both Pud and the cat have question marks next to their heads! Oh, Pud, when will you get the respect you deserve?

Last one: No, wait, dammit, it’s the THIRD time I’ve gotten the one with the rabbit on the TV! I understand that there are a finite number of hilarious adventures that Pud can possibly get into, but c’mon!

Last one, take two: And…it’s the dunce cap on the hat rack one. We’ve come full circle. 

Last one, take three: Another cut-off one. Doesn’t count.

Last one, take four: Another cut-off one. Doesn’t count. This is bull***t. 

Last one, take five: Okay, so Pud is sitting on a bench. Another guy sits on the other end, and it catapults Pud into the air! LOL! This one technically wasn’t Pud’s fault–he would’ve had no way of knowing that the bench was unsafe. Poor kid.

Sideshow Exhibits

Sideshow Press just announced a new book called Sideshow Exhibits, with novellas by Michael McBride, Gene O’Neill, and Gord Rollo. All three tales are based on the following piece of artwork by Tom Moran:

I read the Michael McBride novella (“Brood XIX”) back in August, and it’s an outstanding story. For those of you keeping track, this is one of McBride’s “quiet” tales, as opposed to novels like The Infected where he shreds 85 people per chapter. It’s an emotionally charged piece about a woman coping with the murder of her husband and the disappearance of her young daughter…which means that if I make fun of it like I do everything else on this site, you’ll think “Wow, Strand’s a jerk.” So I won’t. 

Though I haven’t read Gene O’Neill or Gord Rollo’s contributions yet, I’ve read much of their previous work and it’s excellent. I offer no guarantee that they didn’t get thoroughly liquored up, scream “Wooo-hooo! I’m gonna type me one of them word-book things!” and write these novellas via a process of randomly slapping at keys and giggling, but I’m pretty confident that they’re high quality tales.

This book is available for pre-order for only 60 days, so if it took you 61 days to read this, you’re screwed. If you’re reading this in a timely fashion, then check it out RIGHT HERE



More Dubble Bubble Hilarity!

Let’s check out a few more of these uproariously funny Dubble Bubble gum cartoons, shall we?

Crap. This first one is misprinted and half of the cartoon is cut off. Is there no quality control at Fleer? But it seems to be a kid at a diner pointing to a bunch of flies saying “I don’t like these flies,” and the cook says “Come back tomorrow. We’ll have new flies.” Because the kid meant that he didn’t like seeing flies in a dining establishment, but the cook thought he was complaining about those specific flies. 

That cartoon leaves me wanting more. What did the kid say in response? Was he so amused that it distracted him from the health code violation, or did it send him into a fit of pure rage? 

Next one…dammit, this one is half cut-off, too! But using context clues I can determine that it says “Have you lived here all your life?” and the punchline is “No, I’m not through living yet.” I’m not sure if our hero is talking to an old man or what. This one would be funnier if the guy was a zombie and he was all like “Yes, I DID live here my entire life!” and then some light brain-eating was involved.

Finally, we get one that’s printed correctly: A kid is watching TV, and some other kid says “You’ll get a better picture if you put rabbit ears on your set!” The punchline is the kid watching TV, and now there’s a rabbit on the set. The rabbit has a question mark next to its head. Y’know, I remember these bubble gum comics being lame, but I don’t remember them descending into quite this level of lameness. At the very least, it should’ve been the rabbit ears without the rest of the rabbit! That would’ve at least been slightly macabre. I think I can only take two more of these…

Hey! It’s another one starring Pud! Pud is looking at a monkey in a cage. The next panel has the monkey walking away, and Pud is locked in the cage going “Help!” WTF? That’s not even a joke! Even by the low standards of the rabbit ears on the TV set, how did this one pass the pitch sessions in the writers’ room? “So, Pud is looking at this monkey in a cage, and then suddenly Pud is locked in the cage instead of the monkey!” C’mon, people! 

Last one for today: No, wait, this one is cut-off so much that none of the words are there. That was probably an actual funny one, too. One more…

Nope, this one’s cut-off, too. The scene takes place in a coat shop, and the clerk is asking “How long?” but I can’t see anything else. These suck.

Okay, so this one is not only cut-off beyond readability, but it’s the rabbit comic again! Now I’m just getting pissed. 

Son of a bitch! Do I need to file a class-action lawsuit here? Okay, here’s what we’ve got: “–brother –ved a —cker.” “How is he?” “–n’t heard —ing yet.” I think it’s obvious that the punchline is “We haven’t heard anything yet,” and the word “heard” is key. “My brother saved a –cker.” Hmmmm. That sounds kind of dirty. What could his brother have saved that would make noise?

No idea.

Has this Dubble Bubble cartoon defeated me? Suggestions, anyone?  




The Cold Ones

So Elizabeth Donald wrote this book called The Cold Ones. My buddy and Haunted Forest Tour co-author Jim Moore called it “a damned fine read and highly recommended.” But can I trust his opinion? I don’t think so. Because though Jim wants you to think that he looks like this:

He actually looks like this:

So I’m not going to trust that huggy-bear’s opinion on a zombie novella. Instead, I’m going to read The Cold Ones on my Kindle, and check in on a regular basis.

Wow, one page in and we’ve got screaming, bleeding, arm-gnawing, gun-grabbing, and spilled coffee. Clearly this is not a leisurely paced tale. 

10% in (the Kindle conveniently offers percentages of reading progress, which I love): Pretty much non-stop action so far. Gotta love it.

20%: Thanks to a flashback, we see that there’s more to the story than just zombies running around munching human flesh, although there are still zombies running around munching flesh, so it’s win-win for everybody!

30%: Having had a delicious hamburger for lunch today, I object to the use of rotting hamburger meat as a comparison to describe the smell of a corpse. Admittedly, my hamburger was fresh and fully cooked, but still, why not just make gagging noises in my ear while I’m trying to eat?

40%: More action…and a mystery. I’d say more, but I don’t want to include spoilers and face Elizabeth Donald’s wrath, because based on this book I think she’s a biter.

50%: The f-word makes an appearance on every page since the 40% mark. You know, just because a book is loaded with flesh-shredding and bloody gory violence does not mean that one need resort to salty language. This is most unladylike indeed.

60%: Woo-hoo! Flamethrower mayhem!!! This book rocks! 

70%: Will our heroes stop the Cold Ones in time? Or will more people get et? I’ll find out in the next 30% or so!

80%: Great line: “Next time, can we go after something that bullets kill?” Hee hee hee… I also like “Goop not working?”

90%: One doozy of a battle, although not with zombies. Thanks to the flashbacks, this is a multi-monster book. There’s so much cool stuff packed in here that I’d like to see it as a novel. You’ve got your assignment, Ms. Donald…

98%: And it’s over, unless you count “About the Author.” Jim Moore is correct, The Cold Ones is a damned fine read and highly recommended. Action a-plenty, kiddies! 

C’mon, you KNOW you want a copy. You’ve got zombie/monster fans on your holiday shopping list, right? Visit the official Elizabeth Donald website for all the details.



NOW The Mystery of the Gum Revealed

Recap for those of you who don’t want to scroll: I’ve got a plastic Spider-Man head on my top shelf, which is covered by a skeleton mask. 10 years later, I remembered that the head was filled with Bazooka Joe bubble gum. The gum’s state a decade later remains uncertain, until now…

The head is on my desk…

The skeleton mask has been removed…

I’m popping off the top of the head…

D’oh! It’s Dubble Bubble, not Bazooka Joe. That would explain why I couldn’t find it through a Google search when I was trying to verify the ancient status of the Spider-Man head. 

The gum looks fine, but is rock-hard. I’m being very careful, so as not to break any teeth, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to give anytime soon.

Instead of Bazooka Joe, we’ve got…Fleer Funnies, Starring Pud!

Pud? Pud? Really? I’m going to have to do a Google search for “Fleer Employee Gets Fired Over Practical Joke Where Comics Aimed At Kids Feature A Main Character Named Pud.”

In the first panel, some lady is in a phone booth. “Pud, I can’t hear you! Raise your voice!”

In the second panel, Pud is standing on a stepladder. “Is that better, Ma?”

Wow. That makes me long for the biting wit of Bazooka Joe. Let’s try another one…

Fleer Riddles, Panel One: “What animal has more lives than a cat?”

Answer: “A frog! He croaks every night!”

Okay, that sucked, but not on the level of standing on a frickin’ stepladder to raise your voice. We’ll try one more:

Another Fleer Riddle: “What did Mama Lightning Bug say to Papa Lightning Bug?”

“Isn’t Junior bright for his age?”

Good thing they underlined the word “bright.” I might have thought that the punchline came from calling a bug “Junior.” You don’t name bugs “Junior!” That’s for humans! Ha-ha! Stupid lightning bugs!

Update: The gum eventually softened and became just as nasty as regular gum of this variety. So it does have survival power. I don’t know if that’s disturbing or a relief.

Hold on, I want to find another one with Pud…

I’m not sure if this kid is Pud or not, but he’ll do. “Doc, what does that X-Ray of my head show?” “It shows nothing!” Ooooh! Snap!

Another riddle. It’s the same goddamn frog one! WTF? Five wrappers in and I’m getting reruns?  

I’ve got hundreds left. Beware…

The Mystery of the Gum Revealed

Figuratively millions of concerned readers have e-mailed me, demanding to know the status of the ancient gum in the plastic Spider-Man head. I haven’t dared to open it yet. I will tomorrow.

Yes, that means my subject line is a big fat lie. Welcome to my website.

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