I’ve mentioned numerous times that I like to read. In fact, I probably made the mention at one time of the saying that best describes me – “I read like coke fiends snort.”

(Yes, I stole it from Swiercynzki, but considering how he paid for his new pool through the money he got from me through the purchase of his novels,  I think I’m entitled to a couple of minor thefts once and awhile)

Now, where was I? Oh yeah …..

So, with that being said, I thought I post a blog about some of the authors that I’m currently reading and some recommendations for anyone interested:

David Morrell: I came across his stuff purely by accident. I was reading Lance Storm’s blog one day and notice that in his Book Marks listings (check out stormwrestling.com for more information) he was talking about Morrell’s latest novel “The Spy Who Came for Christmas.” At the same time I noticed that this novel was listed as a feature selection in one of book clubs. So I placed my order and a couple of weeks later it arrived on my door. It was a couple of days before I got a chance to crack it open but when I did, I was not disappointed. The book itself is only about 250 pages long, but it never drags. It captures your attention from the first page and holds it. I devoured it in four hours. Then I found myself hunting for some of his other novels, finding Creepers (a terrific thriller) and Totem. Totem was interesting – it did not move as well as Creepers, mainly because this was the original draft of the novel (which was first printed in 1979. Morrell went back to his original draft for the 1994 reprint). The Totem has large amounts of very dense narrative and sometimes jumps all over the place. But the ending was fantastic. If you can find one of Morrell’s novels pick up – it is worth the read. (Also, this is the guy who created Rambo for all you action geeks out there).

Gregg Hurwitz: Much like a lot of the writers that I’ve been reading these days, I stumbled upon Hurwitz on accident as well. I came across his name in a past issue of Wizard: The Guide to Comics when it was announced that he was going to take over Marvel’s The Punisher: Max title for six issues. I was intrigued by the premise that he had for the title (the storyline Hurwitz wrote is entitled “Girls in White Dresses”. I just got all six issues of his run about a week ago and could not put it down. If you can’t find the individual issues, the trade collection should be coming out in the next few weeks). Anyway, I found his novel “The Kill Clause” and gave it a try. While it was slow-going at first (this is one of his larger novels, clocking in at around 550 pages), I found myself not wanting to put it down by the second act. As soon as I finished, I got my hands on Hurwitz’s other novels involving Tim Rackley – The Program, Troubleshooter and Last Shot, which I just finished yesterday evening. I also got my grubby little hands on his latest novel The Crime Writer, which blew me away. If you can find any of these novels,  get them. They are entirely worth it.

Here are some other recommendations:

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell. Read this book in a day. I could not put it down. One of the best novels by a first-time writer that I have ever opened. (I found out about thisbook while reading Swiercynzki’s blog a few weeks ago. Yes, I know – I’m the man’s b*&^%. Don’t remind me…..)

Severance Package by Swiercynzki. I can’t recommend this book enough. Just a fantastic action/spy novel.

Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard. This is the book that the movie Jackie Brown is based upon. The book is just a touch better than the movie (which is one of my all-time favorites). This is probably Leonard’s best novel ever.

Keeper by Greg Rucka. I was first introduced to Rucka’s work during his run on Batman several years ago. So one day when I was in Barnes and Noble, I came across this book and picked it up. I spent two days reading it. A fantastic book.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I just finished this book last week and was quite impressed by it. This man is the foremost fantasy writer of this current generation. In fact, he is the only fantasy writer that I read. (If you like fantasy, give Gaiman’s other works a try – American Gods, Anansi Boys, Neverwhere and his short story collections, Fragile Things and Smoke and Mirrors.)

Well that’s it for now. Keep smiling folks:)


I’m probably going to embarrass some people with this post, but the heck with it — it is my blog! (Cue insane laughter…..)

…..Anyway back to my point.

I was on my Myspace page today and noticed a quick bulletin from one of my friends. She and her husband had a visit with a doctor to talk about …. how is a good way to put this??? …. taking the clog out of her husband’s plumbing. (Wow, did I just write that?)

Anyway, the husband — who has two kids (I think) from a previous marriage — now that their life has settled down, wants to start a family with his current wife.

Personally, I wish them the best of luck. This couple are two of the nicest people you will ever meet and I hope they have lots of kids together.

So now let me turn the issue to myself (egotiscal, yes … but it is my blog afterall! Cue more insane laughter …..)

(Note to self: Don’t drink six bottles of Diet Pepsi before writing your blog ….)

Back on the subject, a few years ago (just after my son was born, and I do mean just after — probably three days later), I thought about taking myself out of the gene pool.

Actually I asked my wife what she thought about it. Here is the exact conversation:

Me: “Honey, what do you think about ….?”

Wife: “No.”

Me: “You didn’t let me finis….?”

Wife: “No.”

(I’m not kidding — that is the actual transcript of the conversation I had with my wife at the time)

Let me put this in perspective … I am truly blessed with a loving wife and son. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. Even if my son had never been created, I would still be happy with living the rest of my life with my wife.

That being said, I don’t know in all honesty if I’m up to having another kid. The thought of it terrifies me. Hell, I can barely spend any time with my wife and son as it is now because of my work obligations. Imagine if there was another person added to that equation — I would definitely be looking at ways to clone myself…

I’m also scared that I’m not a good father to my son now as it is. Don’t get me wrong … I have a blast with the little guy, but I’m always bothered by the fact that I can’t spend more time with him. I’m afraid that I will have either less time to devote to my family if another member of it was to join.

Add to that that I didn’t have the greatest childhood growing up (I’m sure at some point I will delve into that topic in more detail), and … well you understand my concerns about my parental abilities.

But with all that being said, I wouldn’t trade what I have now for the world. And if, God willing, we do add to our family, it will be another blessing from the Lord that I truly do not deserve.

Keep smiling folks:)

Watching a coronation ….

January 21, 2009

So I was tuned in to CNN to watch the coronation … oh, excuse me … the inauguration of the new messiah … I mean, the new president ….

Now most people probably read that first sentence and believe that I have something against President Obama. The answer to that is “no.”

I have nothing personally against the man. We’re both from Illinois. I believe that he is a fantastic speaker who knows how to reach people with his message. He carries himself in a presidential manner and he wishes to do only the best for this nation.

Now does that mean I approved of George W. Bush? No. More times than not I disagreed with our former commander-in-chief, something that I wish my fellow GOP members had done more often. Maybe then the phrase “conservative” wouldn’t be uttered with the same disgust that is usually reserved for words such as “nazi.”

No, my difference with Obama centers on our political beliefs (something that I will not go into because it is none of anybody’s business). But I will support him as our president and I hope he does well.

What really irritated me is how the Liberal Media in this country (The Associated Press, CNN and MSNBC ) seem to be treating Obama like the second coming of Jesus. Funny, I didn’t see him walk on water and heal any lepers Tuesday. Maybe I missed something.

Anyway, for well over a week now, everytime I changed the channel to either CNN and MSNBC, some nitwit with an IQ of 20 (Mark Sanchez, anybody?) keeps telling me how President Obama is going to change the world during his first few days in office. Like as soon as he became president at noon Tuesday, the mistakes of the last eight years were magically going to disappear. Yeah … I don’t think so.

The next four years of Obama’s presidency are going to be tough. He has a hard road ahead of him. Nothing is going to change overnight. In fact, it is probably going to be months (maybe even a year from now) where we start seeing a positive difference.

But to basically make this guy out to be the “cure-all” for everything that ails this country is completely ridiculous. The president only has so much power, folks. The majority of the power in Washington lies with the Congress. I sometimes think that the national media tends to overlook that fact when reporting on national politics.

Anyway enough ranting …. President Obama, good luck in your first term in office. I wish you nothing but the best.

Keep smiling folks:)

A bad friggin’ day …..

January 9, 2009

Had a bad day at work, so I’m just going to drift off and let some of the weirder thoughts that are in my mind come forth:

Diet Pepsi with Lime is my form of crack.

Warren Ellis’ blog posts scare the hell out of me (and then make me fall down laughing:)

I’ve thought of at least 19 ways to kill a person today with a olive fork (Man do I need a hobby …..)

Why did I teach my son how to order pizza?

Am I wearing socks?

I wonder what happens when you run into somebody’s house, scream “booga, booga” at the top of your lungs and then run out?

My brother-in-law is trying to be me, but he can’t … because I’m cooler than he will ever hope to be (Heh, heh)

I haven’t tickled my wife today.

…. Wow …. I better pull back before I let my mind wander too far … because I’m definitely afraid that it will not return….

Until next time folks … Keep smiling:)

I read like ….

January 8, 2009

I was reading Duane Swierczynski’s blog the other day and I came across a comment that he made which seems to sum up how I use my spare time:

“I read like coke fiends snort.”

That sentence describes me to a T. If you don’t believe me, here’s the list of books that I read just in the last month alone — The Reader by Bernhard Schlink; The Program by Gregg Hurwitz; Bret Hart’s autobiography; Secret Dead Men by Swierczynski; two Star Trek novels; and Lamb by Christopher Moore. (And this is not counting the scores of comics and graphic novels that I read during the month as well).

Some people ask me — you’re married and have a two-year-old son …. when do you get the time to read? Usually the only time I have to open a book is in the hour or so between when I drop my son off at the sitters and when I go into work, and when I get home from work, which is anywhere from 11:30 at night to 1 in the morning. (And maybe a couple of hours on the weekends when everybody else in my family is taking a nap …)

I love to read and I can’t remember a time where I didn’t have a book in my hand. When I was
younger, I use to read to escape the hell that was my childhood (a subject which I am sure I will touch on in this blog … especially after I’ve had quite a few drinks in me:)

Now I read to relax … and it helps, especially with the stress associated with my job.

Why am I sharing all this? I don’t know. Maybe I just want to give people a little glance at the type of the person I am.

Or I just like to bore people by prattling on about myself …. you never know:)

Keep smiling folks:)

I’m baaaaack!

January 6, 2009

Yes, I know … it has been a month. But I have an excuse ….. no, wait, I don’t. Damn…….


Anyway just had some ramblings……

Duane Swierczynski is the friggin’ man. Don’t believe me? Pick up Secret Dead Men (Just finished reading it today … utterly fantastic:) Now it’s on to Troubleshooter by Gregg Hurwitz ….

Speaking of Swierczynski, he’s getting ready to do a short six-issue stint on Marvel’s Punisher:MAX title entitled “Six Hours to Kill.”

Also for more Swierczynski goodness, check out his blog at secretdead.blogspot.com

So my 84-year-old grandfather had surgery recently and still cooked Christmas dinner by himself. This man is my hero.

My son is goofy, my wife is crazy and my house is a mess. I wouldn’t have it any other way:)

Added a Twitter account at twitter.com/downersgrove.77. Hopefully I’ll actually update that more often than I update this blog (which will get better in ’09 …. maybe:)

Keep smiling folks:)