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Chatting with a friend whose father is completely in the clutches of Fox News, and believes Donald Trump will go down in history as America’s greatest President, I could only offer condolences.

My mother was at that point a few years ago, and I'm glad that she came back from the brink, recognized the insanity, and did not vote for Trump again in 2020. I'm pretty sure my brother is still Fox-zombified, but I can’t verify that since I refuse to broach the subject with him again.

I almost typed "I don't know what the solution is," but I do know. It's difficult saying it, because I spent decades as a free-speech absolutist, and I don't know how you'd go about it beyond "very carefully," but the plain fact is that democracy doesn't survive if mass media and social media are allowed to lie with impunity about the facts of public discourse.

Any idiot should be free to speak any idiocies, of course. It should be illegal, though, for companies to broadcast those idiocies, unchallenged and uncorrected, to an audience of millions.

Yeah, that's a rerun — what I just said, I've said before. I'm still waiting for someone to explain that I'm wrong.

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I wanted popcorn better than the cheapest Wal-Mart popcorn, so I googled around and the consensus was, eat Amish popcorn. So I bought “Amish Country Popcorn” from somewhere in Indiana, and it was worse than the Wal-Mart stuff. 

Do I gotta go full Orville Redenbacher's? Is there a popcorn you’d recommend, dear reader? 

To be clear, I’m talking about kernels that I fry up myself, not pre-popped crap in a bag.

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Long interview with a long-winded old fat man

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Here’s a leftover question from that interview. When Mark asked, I said I’d rather not go there, but the next day I’m feeling rather ‘fuck it’, so let’s go there after all.

MARK: What person in zineland — reader or publisher — really truly pissed you off the most?

DOUG: Sorry, I'd prefer to pass on that question. It's a tie, though. There's one guy who might track me down and beat me up if I mentioned him by name, and there's a less violent but more annoying shit-head who'd merely write a long (and annoyingly well-written) article explaining that I'm a hypocrite and traitor to all things DIY, and falsely claiming I'd once kicked a kitty cat.

MARK: I won’t print it but I’m curious as to who these two are?

DOUG: Off the record, like Woodward and Bernstein? 

Jim Goad and Bob Black.

MARK: Jim Goad … I never read Answer Me. Wasn’t so into rape and fascism, I guess.

Was Bob Black the guy that wrote Loompanics books?

DOUG: I also kept my distance from Answer Me, for the same reason. Before Answer Me (or possibly during early Answer Me) I thought Goad seemed like a cool guy, but I was severely mistaken.

And yessir, that's Bob Black. He wrote for Loompanics until they fired him for some extreme assholery. He’s a good writer, but he's been a troll since before the internet was invented. He’d chat you up, say kind things about your zine, and then publish a long (but always well-written) article explaining why you and your zine are both matching pieces of shit.

MARK: Black was also a police informant. Is he still alive? I thought he was old in the 1990s.

DOUG: I assume he's alive, because I would've received happy notes from all over the zine galaxy if he'd died. He is/was a tremendously sour soul. I know of no-one who had a human or business relationship with him that didn't end in a Bob Black explosion.

My favorite Bob Black explosion was against Processed World. Black wrote a few articles for them, then turned in a fiercely negative review *of* Processed World *to* Processed World, and spent the next several years smearing them everywhere because they'd declined to print it.

What a guy. We went a few rounds in ... cripes, was it the 1970s? Maybe the early '80s?

MARK: Spent my early morning catching up on Goad. What a fuck

How is it that you came to be enemies?

Carl Sagan ... in 1995

DOUG: We traded a few letters, between two zineland zeroes. In one of his letters he said something that helped me figure out he was an ass, so I said goodbye, and his reply amounted to "You ought to be dead" but the implication was "and I'll take care of that for you."

Haven't heard from either Jim or Bob for a while, which is OK.

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You are given two choices.

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In the long run, we’re all dead. Exercise only gives your body false hopes.

There’s a story behind that line — someone else deserves credit. I don't know who, though, and I’ve written the story behind it three times and it’s just boring, so let's let the plagiarism stand.

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I recently read an amusing but silly article in an on-paper publication, about someone’s fight against an invasion of cockroaches. Having killed many thousands of roaches myself over the years, I chuckled as the author explained to an exterminator that, shockingly, she’d seen half a dozen roaches in the past few weeks, and that every time she saw one, she’d had to disinfect the kitchen counter again.


Roaches are grotesque but marvelous little monsters who share our world. I've shared much of my life with them, and never disinfected anything. Lady, they're icky but they're not cancer.

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Speaking of infestations and exterminators — it’s been long enough to have a baby, baby.

It’s been nine damned months since the idiots stormed the Capitol, inspired and instructed by Donald Trump and his sad minions. No charges have been filed against anyone involved in the planning, and I've heard no whispers of an investigation by the Department of Justice. There's nothing much to investigate, though — the facts are known.

Of course, the Biden administration's disinterest in prosecution is no surprise. Presidents believe they're above the law because they are. The lack of prosecution over 1/6/2021 ensures that we'll see something like it again, but the next such insurrection will be better organized, and probably more successful toward its treasonous goals.  

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 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going: 


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Sincere tip 'o the hat to:

• Becky Jo
• Dave S.
Captain Hampockets
Mark Maynard
National Zero
Voenix Rising
• and One of the Butt Sisters but definitely not the other.

🧁 ☕ 🍩
You’re always invited
to add anything below,
about anything at all.

🍩 ☕ 🧁


Leftovers & links 

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  1. I haven't yet read this full column yet - I stopped at your firat mention of Jim Goad...

    I was reading your interview, and thinking about the early people I read in zines, and Jim Goad was one of them. He happened to come across my awareness VERY early - Answer Me! was one of the very first zines I ever saw. I was a very, very, very angry person, and I thought he was great But goddamn, what a piece of shit. I repent, and throw myself on the mercy of the court

    1. There's no court, no need for mercy. I don't want that shit anywhere near me, but I wouldn't even judge someone harshly if they loved Goad's work. To each their own.

    2. I know that. But I'm barrassed by who I was when I was 21, for many reasons, not just that I liked Answer Me. I'm much happier with my fat loser 47-year-old self than my young self.

    3. That should say, "embarrassed," not "barrassed." How barrassing.

    4. Would I hate 21-year-old you? Hope so. I'd definitely hate 21-year-old me.

  2. I understand his point and he was right of course, but it's no surprise that Carl Sagan didn't like Dumb and Dumber. He wasn't much for comedy.

  3. I will take the bait. First Amendment. "Congress shall make no law".

    What government agency do you trust to decide what is true and permissable and what is not true and banned?

    1. None, and yeah, it's clearly unconstitutional. I didn't say it was gonna be easy!

  4. "In the long run, we’re all dead. Exercise only gives your body false hopes."

    I think it was the late great Redd Foxx who said something along the lines of "Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing".

  5. Networks lying about COVID and other things, that's the same as shouting first in a crowded theater. It should be illegal and you are absolutely right.

  6. Me, Bob Black, the guy from Answer Me. We’re writing a book about you.

    1. Made me larf and fart and cringe all at the same time.

    2. We're also starting a band, "Black, Goad and Maynard."

      We're just going to cover Crosby, Stills and Nash songs.

  7. Glad you did the interview. Funny that one of the comments considered that it might be fake, heh. You're not the Warren Beatty of zines, you're the Howard Hughes (or Traven, as you mentioned). Also, thanks for the plugs and kind words in the interview.

    Say, do you remember a writer/zine named Phil Bland/Memoirs of a Street Vendor? Do you know what became of them?

    1. Thanks, dude. Loved doing the interview.

      As I'm retyping Pathetic Life, I keep looking for every zinester I mention, and everyone I remember. Haven't had great luck. It's been too long.

      I def remember Memoirs of a Street Vendor, but have been unable to find much of anything about it online, except a few reviews. Same story with almost everyone I've looked for.

    2. Thank you so much for mentioning this. I was trying just the other day to remember the name of the author of "Memoirs of a Street Vendor." I'll try to find something, but if Doug and you can't, I can't imagine I'll have better luck.

  8. I think it should be a criminal offense to knowingly spread misinformation that harms people.


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