Archives - September 2003
September 28 2003
I'll be on Channel 31 in Fort Worth this month in a 30-minute show called Books In Review. The topic will be L.A. Stalker. This is a cable-access show only for Charter subscribers in the Fort Worth area. The other guest author for the month will be Lauren Weisberger, whose The Devil Wears Prada is on the NYT bestseller list right now. Good company. Here's the schedule for those who want to hear me utter such profundities as: "You can call me a pervert if you want to."
Sun. 9/28 - 4:30pm | Mon. 9/29 - 1pm & 1:30am | Tues. 9/30 - 7pm & 10pm | Wed. 10/1 - 10pm | Thurs. 10/2 - 10:30am | Fri. 10/3 -6:30am
More times will be posted later.
Tawk Lika Texan, Boy
A great little book that just came out: Speak Texan in 30 Minutes or Less. Author Lou Hudson has put together a collection of sayings and drawlings from my home state that will tickle your feathers. Or whatever. Comedy aside, the book is a mini-linguistic study of the Texas Twang (the publisher is The Texas Twang Preservation Society). One of my favorites:
"You want a coke?"
When I was a kid, ALL soft drinks were a "Coke." Kind of like some people I've met who call all vacuum cleaners a "Hoover" regardless of make. Speaks to the ubiquity of the tasty beverage. Another:
How are you? Answer: "Fine as frog hair."
I say that one all the time; nobody knows what the **** I'm talking about. I have to explain it most of the time: "Frog hair is SO fine you can't see it." Some people are as dumb as a "box of hammers."
If you want some good laughs, especially if you're from the south (or at least enjoy making fun of us) get this little ditty; it's only $5.95 at Barnes & Noble. They just bought a trainload of the damn things (I'm jealous) so you can probably find one in your local B&N store. Best of luck to my homeboy Lou Hudson, who just happens to be a 30-year veteran of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (and no, I'm not kissing ass to get the newspaper's attention; I gave up on that long ago. Besides, he's semi-retired).
September 24, 2003
On being a man.
I saw a guy a few nights ago who embodied the de-evolution of Man. I watched him enter a restaurant with his very pregnant wife. He led the way and plopped himself into a chair, leaving his wobbly wife to seat herself. He opened the menu and stared at the entrees, oblivious. I've seen this kind of thing many times before; too many times lately. The guy got me thinking again about something that has been bothering me a long time now. I believe that men are degenerating rapidly into a state I call The Boy Man. Selfish and immature three-year-olds occupying adult male bodies. I believe a twisted popular culture is contributing heavily to this phenomenon, but the ultimate blame is on men themselves, who have chosen this path out of sheer laziness. An acquiescence to something that is easy over something that is hard.
A question I've often asked myself is: What is a man? I never worried about this or fretted about it; it is just something that is out there, something that always seemed to pertain to others and not to me. I guess our concept of manhood is forged when we boys are very young. We base our model on our heroes real and make-believe. The heroes of my generation and those before it were men with reputations, real or not, of bravery, confidence, and moral fortitude. Abraham Lincoln, George Patton, Neil Armstrong, Davy Crockett, John Paul Jones... The heroes of today's men are deviants, boors, and anarchists. Howard Stern, Bill Clinton, Tupac Shukur, Eminem, Ozzy... Ignorance over Honor. The Boy Man sees these attributes as good. Cool. Being cool is far more important to the Boy Man than being a man.
Men have a purpose in our society. Stereotyping of gender roles notwithstanding, the history of the human race can be traced by the actions of men, both as individuals and as groups. This history, checkered with the grim reality of the dark side of the male animal - war, atrocity, genocide, slavery, rape, murder - is a timeline from stone-throwing tundra nomads to DNA sequencing and space travel. A few men have steered us through these ten millenia, give or take a few thousand years. All of them, even the most vile, have done so with a distinct clarity of vision and a willingness to pursue that vision to its final conclusion. The Boy Man lacks this vision. They live only for themselves and the moment. Higher aspiration is missing. Ambition is dead. Excellence is non-existent. While the world spins around him, he wastes his mind and his time in distraction. The world that so desparately needs his input, his planning, his drive, his intellect...waits.
The Boy Man sees insignificant things as having great importance. He thinks that wearing his cap backwards in public is a sign of his independence. Thomas Lynch, age 27, put his name on the Declaration of Independence; a death sentence for him. Thomas Jefferson did likewise. He was 33. The Boy Man finds humor in the degradation of himself and others. JackAss is funny. Girls Gone Wild is high entertainment. Ghandi sat in a prison more than once to protest the degradation of his people. "To-ga, To-ga, To-ga!" is the mantra of the Boy Man. Grown men are to act like 13-year-old schoolboys for the rest of their lives. Sitting in front of the TV for hours on end watching sports and NASCAR, embracing the sophomoric antics of The Man Show crew, and giggling to the latest beer commercial. All while their jobs, their relationships, their communities, and their families go on without their presence.
The honor of the modern man is that there is no honor. Not in themselves, not in their families, not in their nation, not in their community. Male-bashing? Yes. And deservedly so. The Boy Men have cast a shadow over my gender. When will this shadow be lifted? When will we regain the respect of the world? If things continue as they are, perhaps never. Women will, and are, taking over the helm. Out of necessity, they have filled in where we have dropped out. The movers and shakers of the future will be women. Perhaps it is their time. Perhaps the evolutionary cycle is leading us to a new age where women will control the destiny of our planet. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe not. Another thousand years will tell.
So what is a man? A REAL man? I guess the term can be defined many ways, but here is what I think. A real man has respect. Respect for women, respect for his nation, respect for his family, respect for his community, but above all, respect for himself. He comports himself with dignity, in public and in private. He cares what he looks and sounds like, for he knows people are looking to him for guidance. He keeps private things private; you won't seem him airing his dirty laundry on the Jerry Springer Show. He takes care of important things. He takes care of his job, his home, his family, his neighborhood. He takes care of his kids, whether they live with him or not. If he has to work, he works. He pays his bills. He is a pillar that we can depend on. Stability personified. Sometimes a man has to fight, but he does so only when he must, and he never fights those who can't defend themselves. On the contrary, he stands up for those who are defenseless in the face of their enemies.
A real man doesn't need muscles like Arnold. He doesn't need a Harley or the latest bass boat. A real man doesn't have to lead nations or command armies. He doesn't have to be a CEO, a soldier, or a cop. Sometimes being a man is simply taking your hat off before going into a restaurant, even if all your friends don't. Sometimes being a man means to open a door for a lady, or to give his seat on the train to an elderly man. And sometimes being a man means to get off the couch, turn that game off, and take his daughter to the zoo instead.
September 21, 2003
From Foreword magazine's newsletter this month, excerpts from an article by Eugene Schwartz about the evolution of the small/indie press:
Publisher's Marketing Association's update on its 1997 survey of the size of independent publishing, "The Rest of Us", shows the independents dwarfing the rest of the industry - and growing by more than 20% annually...Nonetheless it is a respectable figure made up of 73,000 small publishers (or 85,000 small and medium publishers) alongside of Bowker's 1,804 large and very large publishers. The relative modesty of industry sales dollars in the total gross national product serves to underscore the enormous cultural leverage the industry enjoys as the repository of the as yet not outmoded written word...
Tom Woll, author of the report on the survey notes, that "while the overall recognized larger publishing industry has to some extent stagnated over the past five years," the smaller publisher base has gained 106% in five years, or 21% annually. The activity of these smaller publishers feeds the distribution system as well as provides an opportunistic and timely information flow needed in a rapidly transforming global marketplace. And, as Woll points out, they are the breeding grounds for innovation and newer authors yet to be discovered.
Some other instructive highlights:1) The smallest publishers, those with 1-10 titles in print have come to rely most, and increasingly, on the internet for sales. 64% of the respondents generated an average of 25% of their sales through this channel. 2) The greater the number of titles in print, the greater the reliance on sales through wholesalers and distributors. 3) Viewed by the number of years in business, median first printings for publishers in business up to 15 years ranged from 2,500 to 3,000 copies. Woll speculates that the low first run levels are made possible by the ability today to print small quantities cost-effectively reducing costs and investments in inventory. Some of the advantages of smallness are highlighted by the foregoing. Smaller publishers conserve cash and reduce reliance on high discount distribution channels. This enables a more opportunistic publishing strategy.
The vitality of the independent publishing sector continues to impress and amaze. One consequence of the increasing conglomeration of the traditional bookstore distribution channels is the buildup of alternative distribution modes - especially as category management practices at Borders and vertical publishing initiatives at Barnes and Noble take hold; the smaller publishers are gradually being squeezed out of these increasingly unprofitable channels. The PMA survey suggests that the creative and opportunistic vision is migrating to the small press while the mainstream is more and more directing its creativity into formula distribution and merchandising. This is not to say that opportunities in the chain channels should not be pursued. But, as publishing is a business enterprise, these channels need to be carefully targeted and can be incremental rather than primary to the economic survival of most small publishers.
PMA's survey suggests that enterprising publishers understand this and are fueling a niche in the industry which is larger now, and growing faster, than the mainstream which supports its conventional infrastructure.
Eugene G. Schwartz
Gee, confirmation of what I've been preaching for years. And a great ray of hope for indie writers out there, not to mention for readers who now have an alternative to the boring and formulaic books churned out by the big publishing houses and sold by their stooges/conspirators in the big chain bookstores.
September 18, 2003
Those who know me know I'm a rock and roll fan. In my computer at work, there's an Audioslave CD in the drive right now. In my boom box there's Godsmack. When in the mood, I'll throw in a Judas Priest or AC/DC anthology. So if I say I like something else, it may shock some people. Last night, I went to see Tony Bennett at the Bass Performance Hall. It was an amazing show.
Here is this guy, well past 70, on a bare stage. His only accompaniment were four musicians: bass, guitar, piano and drums. All of them are young enough to be his grandchildren. Unlike some other performers of his day, he doesn't hide a blown voice behind a huge orchestra designed to drown him out. With total confidence, he sings, no...he caresses each song to perfection. Just him and the music and the audience. No tricks, no electronic enhancement (he even did one song without a microphone). You gotta respect a guy with balls like that. Most 30-something performers wouldn't dare go on stage and attempt this. But there he was, doing it as he has been for the last 60 years.
He sang all the old favorites plus a few thrown in for the sake of variety: Gershwin, Hank Williams, Charlie Chaplin...and a tribute to Duke Ellington. His presence was profound. Old ladies and young ones alike were squirming in their seats. I half-expected someone to throw their panties on stage for him. But he took it all with wonderful grace and composure. A true professional, and someone who obviously loves his work.
The crowd was mainly older; the ticket price was too steep for the MTV crowd. I sat next to an older man who knew every word to every song. When Tony launched into "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," they guy nudged me and said, "That song was #1 when I shipped off to Vietnam; it was all I heard on the radio while I was over there." Joy and pain; fire and ice. Just like Tony made those songs come to life.
If you get a chance to see this man, do so. Whatever type of music you may like, I promise that you will not be disappointed.
September 16, 2003
Went to another funeral today, with the prayer service last night. As they go, it was a nice one. Lots of loving family and friends there to send off the departed; I hope my own funeral has 1/2 as many. But I wanted to blog about something that bothers me about funerals.
It seems that there's always a couple of people, lay preachers sometimes and sometimes pros, that see a funeral as a way to proselytize the funeral attendees. This is a major mistake on several levels. First, a funeral serves one purpose: closure. The closure of a person's life on Earth. It is a psychological necessity for many people to see their loved one on display, and sometimes even lowered into the ground. It is the period at the end of the sentence of that person's life, telling everyone that the thing is over. Finality. Some people need to experience this to avoid the nagging feelings that someone is still "there" or "with them." Funerals of many kinds have fulfilled this need of the human race since the dawn of mankind. I have no problem with that. When a Christian decides this is a great time to convert the unwashed heathens in attendance, that is when things go bad. The focus of the gathering changes to their own agenda from the main point of being there in the first place: to remember and say goodbye to the one who died. It is as if the person "ministering" to the crowd sees a great opportunity to preach to a captive audience. They use the grief of the family and friends to fuel their message, which is basically: "Every one of you will be here one day in your own coffin. If you want to go to Heaven, you'd better listen to me." This is a cruel trick to play not only on the bereaved, but on the departed as well. When I left the prayer service last night, I only heard about 5 minutes of memories of the deceased and about an hour of preaching. That was wrong. If the agenda of the preachers is to convert people to Christianity, they failed. In fact, they probably added one more nail in their coffins of disbelief. How many people have been so turned off by the rantings of a funeral preacher that they distanced themselves that much further from the church, or from any spiritual beliefs whatsoever?
When my funeral rolls around, there had better be a great sendoff to David or I'm gonna come back and do some poltergeist activity on everyone's collective ass.
September 10, 2003
Another great review
DaGoddess has struck again, this time with what I believe is the best-written review of one of my books ever:
TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A.
Dora - Imagine being prey for a hideous, unknown beast. Everyone around you - suspect. Just one or two friends are there to offer you comfort occasionally, but they, too, are being hunted.
Jerry - Imagine being able to reach into the darkest recesses of a twisted, obsessed, fouled mind. Every deviant thought and deed, bleeding into your psyche as you probe further, trying to uncover the key to the hunter's schedule. You're the one who can work your way into the depraved mind and you're assigned to track down the predators you can't identify by sight. The prey isn't trusting you to be her protector. How can you possibly defend her when you don't know who the enemy is?
Sounds like the job from Hell, doesn't it?
For Jerry Leger, it's all in a day's work. For Pandora Collins, it's her life at stake.
L.A. Stalker is compelling and chilling. A true page-turner. David Kilpatrick strikes each chord with resounding clarity in this psychological thriller. Beyond CSI: Hollywood, his look into the world of celebrity stalkers and those hired to protect the glitterati, is spellbinding. Far more than a novel dedicated to the dangers of stardom, he takes you into the minds of the mad, the scarred, and the brutalized.
Start this book early in the morning and don't stop reading until you're done! Let's just hope you can finish before the shadows set in...
September 9, 2003
It's a Brave New World
I ran across this ad this weekend in a local college newspaper:
Made me wish I had some eggs. $3500 a pop. Nice pocket change. Well, made me wish I had scored above an 1100 on my SAT, too. Mine wasn't even close. But in my defense, I'd like to say that I had partied all night before my SAT exam and was toilet-hugging hungover when I took the thing. My ACT wasn't much better, so I was community-college bound. Too bad they're not looking for dumbass sperm. I have tons of that stuff. Nobody wants it; it's anathema. Women have done anything to block it, kill it, remove its target out of hitting range, or leave it alone altogether. It's funny how a good score on a college entrance exam can change things. Instead of demanding I use a condom, the chicks in college would have been lining up to get my 1200 SAT sperm. Charles Darwin would have been damn proud of me. I could have spawned an entire tribe of intelligent youngins who would just be hitting Ivy League graduate schools about now.
So here's a message to you kiddos out there thinking of blowing off that SAT exam to go to the beach: study hard in those prep courses and your reproductive germ cells will be worth big bucks. Forget the PhD; just get a good score on your ACT and you can make a nice living selling a bunch of stuff you don't need, anyway.
September 8, 2003
Greg Fischer on his blog My Life as a Fischer reviewed Cuqui on his blog:
Things that go bump in the night and eat your face off
Deep cover DEA agents. Gun fights. Sexy auburn haired archeologists. Humor. Monsters that creep the shit out of you and then eat your face while you're still alive. David L. Kilpatrick's "Cuqui" (pronouced koo-KOO-ee) has it all. Da Goddess discovered him through another blogger's review of one of his books and she commented that she wanted in on some of that 'review action'. A few emails between David (he's got a blog, too) and Da Goddess and lo! we've got book. Four, actually. Okay, eight - he generously sent 2 copies of each (thanks!).
Deep cover DEA agent Bumpy Sheffield has just seen something that, until now, he thought only existed in nightmares and monster movies. The novel's forward describes "Cuqui" as a term commonly used by Mexican-Americans to describe monsters of all kinds (think "The Bogey-man"). It has roots in African folklore about a similarly named beast that steals children in the night. I started the book a day or two after it arrived on our doorstep, reading before going to bed, when the computer was acting up...the times I normally set aside for reading. This morning, I was slightly less than half way through the book. I finished it this evening. I don't know when, but at some point, I didn't want to put the book down. I just had to keep reading. I wanted to find out what was going to happen next, when Cuqui was going to strike and who would be its next victim. And what would Bumpy and his friends do to try stop it when it sure seemed like they couldn't. Not too many books capture my interest in that way. If you like action, humor and horror, you'll like "Cuqui". David does an excellent job of mixing them all together. Da Goddess has been talking up "Undercover White Trash." I think I'll grab me an Old Milwaukee, some Skoal and read that next.
September 5, 2003
To web or not to web
I've been perusing the web lately looking for an illustrator (if you know one, send them my way). I'm cruising through artists' personal sites, some pro and some amateur. There's a lot of talent out there waiting to be discovered, and many of these people are eager to work. So I've been to about 50 sites this week alone, all found through artist links on Yahoo and such. Now, I have my own web site and I know a little about designing one, even though I am certainly an amateur. Some of these artists know very, very much and some are even web designers as well as being fine artists. But to them, and to any writers out there reading this blog, here's a few tips on what to do on your web site and why:
DO create a splash page. That's a SMALL, quickly-loading entry page to let people know they've hit the right place. DO NOT put 40 images, animations, animated cursors, songs, or anything else there. It should load in a few seconds.
DO NOT use animations, animated cursors, music or any other cutsie bandwidth-hogging thing anywhere on your site. Keep it simple. I just went to a site that had 36 images plus animations on the index page. I dumped it like it was radioactive.
DO NOT use Flash. It is really nifty, but it slows dial-up to a crawl, and many people do not have the Flash software to play this stuff. It says to the viewer, "You're not cool enough to see my work if you don't have Flash."
DO NOT use Geocities, Homestead, MSN or any of those free site places. The trade-off is that these put advertising popups on the viewer's browser. I immediately dump these sites because I HATE POPUPS and so does everyone else. Especially when four or five of them pop up at every page change. Quit being a cheap-ass and buy a domain.
DO keep your site updated and make sure the links work. Visit it at least more than once a freaking year.
DO have a viable email address and keep it working. I've passed on three artists who had bad email addresses on their site. If you want to work/sell or whatever, how can you if no one can contact you???
DO NOT use the word "whimsical." If I see ONE more artist use this word, I'm going to track them down and kill them.
September 4, 2003
A wonderful review from DaGoddess, as posted on her blog:
What happens when an Ivy League overachiever blows an ad campaign and gets called a "peckerwood" by his working class client? He gets assigned three months living undercover amongst the client's target consumer base.
From pampered to pauper in a day, Edward Vincent Prescott
III takes on his assignment with relish. Armed with legal pads, binoculars,
and a slightly used 1971 Pontiac Bonneville (with a brand new 8 track
cassette deck!), Edward becomes Eddie and ventures forth into the
world of Old Milwaukee, wrestling, stock cars, and fish sticks. Faster'n
you can say "how do I get outta here, Officer," you'll be caught up
I got Undercover White Trash Tuesday afternoon just as I was heading out to work. I read most of the first chapter while stuck in traffic and couldn't wait for my break that night to read more. A half hour of break didn't give me nearly enough time for reading. I wanted more. I can't remember ever laughing harder or louder over a novel. All told, I spent about two hours with my head stuck in this book, completely caught up in the story. Does this privileged Princeton peckerwood stand up when put to the test? All I'll tell you is that Eddie fares better than Fung Lo did in Flying Fists of Pain. Check out Undercover White Trash and spend an afternoon lost in laughter.
Thanks, DaGoddess! You are too kind!
September 1, 2003
Taped the first of two shows for the Books In Review program for the Fort Worth Charter Cable community TV channel 31. Will Williams, a sportscaster of theirs, did the interview. I warned the manager of the station (which is a surprisingly well-equipped and bustling place) that L.A. Stalker needed to be read by someone other than the blue-bloods they often get to review books. I think that's why he wound up giving it to Will, who turned out to be an animated, funny and insightful interviewer. He had actually studied my book and in fact, seemed to have ruminated on it at length. He had some pretty good questions and we cut up quite a bit. I have a tape but haven't brought myself to the point of watching it yet. It is funny about these things...how critical we are of ourselves. But I guess that's just human nature. I'll post a schedule of when the show will air (probably 6-8 times in the Fort Worth area), probably in October.
Pet Peeve O' The Day
I keep seeing this banner ad or ones like it everywhere I go. I don't knock the product/process (this happens to be the Atkins diet) but I do have a problem with the marketing strategy. Why would this 22-inch-waisted girl need a 19-inch waist, as the image suggests? Does this flat-bellied, 2% body fat girl need to lose 10 pounds? Hell, no. This is another example of a marketing approach that seeks to make people feel bad about themselves, then in turn, seeks to satiate that feeling with a product to "cure" the problem.
Those who have seen the horrible photos of Lara Flynn Boyle in the media recently can see the effects of this starvation culture. Sure, Americans are fat these days. Yeah, many could stand to lose a little weight. Some could stand to lose a hundred pounds. But you have to STOP losing weight at some point and be satisfied with what you have. If you are not morbidly obese and you have no health problems, or if you have a trim figure, you do not need to starve yourself.
August 28, 2003
Just an assorted set of stuff today.
Got an email from Gary Goude. He was blogging when blogging wasn't cool. He has a non-blog blog like mine. He's a writer out in California. Go check out his musings on Anti-Hero Art, a site run by my homeboys about all sorts of white trash stuff. They are PWT and proud of it, baby!
Taping a local book review TV show tomorrow. The topic is L.A. Stalker. It has been postponed once, and I suspect that the first reader, or readers, freaked out and wouldn't/couldn't do the show... I warned the manager of the TV station about the book when I gave it to him; No lightweights or blue-blooded Bible thumpers should be reviewing this one. Haven't decided to go casual or wear my signature coat and tie.
Started another book...
Got several interesting emails. One was from a new writer from Texas named Kevin Raper. Awful name, but has a good book out. I'll be linking to it soon.
Also, DaGoddess will be reviewing all four of my books in the near future. Go check out her blog!
August 25, 2003
Hair Part II
Those of you who read my Hair Manifesto know my story. Well, I think I may whack it all off this time. I've been looking around for a 'do and found a site that has many men's hair styles to view. There are plenty of these sites for women, but few for men. I found a few styles on this cutting-edge men's fashion site and thought I'd share them with the regulars here. Please email me to vote on one of these:
This is The Swooping Mullet. Contrast it with the less chic Salad-Bowl Mullet, where the hair on top is short and non-swooping.
This is the Classic Mohawk. I don't know what the f*** that thing is around the guy's neck, though.
This is the Fuller Brush Mohawk, a hybrid of the Classic and the Neo-Punk Flag Spike as seen in Undercover White Trash. Of course, wanting a more masculine look, I would forego the pink spikes, opting instead for straight blond.
This is the Partial Comb-Over, sometimes called The New York Comb-over. I guess I'd have to shave a bald spot on my hairline to get this look. I hear the chicks dig it, especially when you unbutton your shirt and wear a suit jacket.
This is the Non-Haircut Haircut. A nice retro 1976 design and to be honest, my favorite. I would need to get some big glasses to complete the look, though; I'm not sure if it is in my budget. Maybe next year. But I sure do like it.
Please vote on any of these you like, or perhaps suggest another. I'm open to all suggestions from my legion of loyal fans, groupies and stalkers. Thank you.
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