Interview with author Gary Duffey


Today, I’m talking with the perspicacious Gary Duffey, author of the thriller, Territory.

M:  When reading, Territory, My Antonia by Willa Cather came to mind, which also depicts the frontier of Nebraska during the 1800’s. Is there anything you read in particular that sparked the idea for writing Territory?

G:  I’ll have to read, My Antonia…. It better not be mushy!

M:  I seem to recall a part, where a guy is driving a wedding party on a sledge. In order to speed up to get away, he throws both the bride and the groom off and they get eaten by wolves. So yes, it is a love story.

G:  Territory, or more so, the boy, came about from my time as a security guard at an abandon hospital. I was 18 years old at that time, so it was actually 18 years ago. I’m not going to say ghosts are real and I am not saying the boy is a ghost, but what I will say is, many an odd thing would happen at this hospital. No one but me was on the hospital grounds and in the building. It’s very unique to spend 8 hours a day in a full size hospital, with no one but yourself about.  This particular hospital known as, Memorial South, in Ceres California, was vacant for a long time before I arrived there.  A new hospital was built where I live in the connecting city of Modesto and Memorial South was left to decay. It was guarded, when a group of investors bought, Memorial South to use it as storage for medical paper work. Every hospital room that was rented (and there weren’t many), had pad locks on them and some rooms had pad locks on them for different reasons, such as blood spatter on carpets and walls, from what I could only assume was from a murder as the building sat vacant. The hospital was 3 stories, if you included the basement; the hospital in its entirety was or is in the shape of a cross. In this cross, only one of the 4 cross pieces had power and that was only on the lower level, this is where our guard office was, but really was the old gift shop. Now, as to the weirdness, no matter the time of day or night, I as a guard was to walk the perimeter of the hospital to look for illegal entry.  I never found that, but what I did find, were curtains closed that were open, or open when earlier they were closed. There was an elevator that shouldn’t have been functioning, that would come up from the basement, opening with a ding at my floor. I remember walking to it and looking at the service sticker, to see it being last serviced in 1973 and at the time it was 1999. Anyway, as I was looking at it, the emergency phone started ringing, so I reached in after what seemed a long time, picked it up and asked “Hello?” It sounded like hundreds of voices talking over one another. I couldn’t make anything out of what they were saying. I put the phone back on the receiver and as soon as I did, the elevator went, ding and the door closed, but as it did, the interior lights shut off. The elevator went back down to the basement, only to rise again months later. I could go on and on about this place, but what gave me the idea for the boy, came one night, I was walking past the maternity ward (an additional smaller building also shaped as a cross); it was raining, I for whatever reason, looked at the front double doors as lightning flashed; it filled the rooms with light and what I saw looking back at me, was a man in a jean jacket. I acted like I did not see him. This event, along with all the other weirdness, melded together a story in my mind, of a group of misfit army cadets, being unknowingly experimented upon, as they refit an abandon hospital into a barracks for military use. This story never made it to print, but elements from it did make it into Territory. I will not say what, as it might be boring for readers. The bad guy in that story was a man who was an escaped mental patient and he set up a place to live in the hospital long before our army cadets got there. This man known to those who knew him was called, “Manic Mason or to you and I, as the man I saw in the jean jacket in the maternity ward. Mason had unique superhuman gifts, and was as old as the world.  Territory is a collection of ideas that over time, amassed into what it is today. Why Nebraska? Why 1867? Well, in the second Manic Mason story (again never made it to print), we find Sarah on her front porch drinking from a dinted tin cup and a supernatural human by the name of Manic Mason has set up residence in her barn. He plans to kill her and her family. Why? Well, that is exactly why I wrote Territory; it was a cool concept, but didn’t make any damn sense! No spoilers were just given; the boy is not a supernatural human who has lived from the beginning of the world. He is something altogether different…. To explain why 1867, this is because many historical things were happening in Nebraska at this point in time, some of which are found in Territory and others found in Texas that spilled into the book.

M:  How terrifying it must have been to see some dude in a jean jacket. I mean, who wears those anymore.

M:  Your characters are all unique, some are acting out of desperation, revenge, atonement and just plain greed. Which character did you find most interesting to write about?

G:  I enjoyed writing about Jacob. My favorite part was when he was in the barn with Sara’s daughters. I think we see a master manipulator at work. The reader really sees his pure manic evil, after he sends the girls into the house, leaving him to work on a spike. I also enjoyed, Barbra.

M:  Centered in your fictional story is something nonfictional, and that is the scalping industry. Most people think it was the Native American warriors, who had a penchant for scalping settlers and soldiers, but in reality, it was Europeans who carried it out much more and then later Americans, so much so that scalping became an industry. Can you elaborate a little on that industry and why you chose to incorporate it into the story?

G:  I really didn’t, and still don’t know much about it. This being a fictional story, I found it to be an opportunity to use it to provide more depth to Barbra, and to provide a little foreshadowing for the next book. The blanket was an afterthought.

M: Okay, I’ll enlighten them. HaHa! In the 1800’s, Mexico and several other surrounding states, paid private armies and bounty hunters to scalp Native Americans. They saw it as a good way to protect their citizens. I believe it continued for many years before it was finally outlawed.

M:  You did an amazing job of blurring the lines of sanity, insanity, dream and lucidity. It felt like a dream sequence at times, especially when the Native American boy was at the river. Did you set out writing with that in mind, or is that just something that developed?

G:  I set out with that in mind and as the story progresses we will see why. *zips lips*

M:  Was the Native American boy a symbol of justice to address the wrongs of an entire culture?

G:  I could see how one might see this, in this first book; the boy is used as a weapon of revenge. What we will find in the next book, will twist this notion. We will also learn what the boy is and where he came from.

M:   How many more books do you plan to write in the Territory series?

G:  The upcoming one and possibly a prequel revolving around Jacob in his youth, following him until he finds, Mindy… maybe further. If there will be a third Territory book remains to be seen. I won’t leave out the possibility, but I’ll know more when I finish the second book.

M:  How much time each day do you set aside to write?

G:  Less than I would like to. When I set aside all other projects I’m working on, my goal becomes 2,000 words a day. On a day when I’m tired, I hit around 500-1,000. Sometimes I find it’s good to stop for a week and then out of nowhere, my mind fits a few plot pieces together, that I don’t feel I would have come up with if I just kept writing. For instance, in my new book, Home (working title), Sheriff Sean Laing, is at a grocery store during a small storm at night. That’s where I left off. I pick up after a week, with the power shutting off and leaving the store in darkness. This darkness brings us to the home of, Polly, the main character in the story. Here we find her discovering a boy with Down syndrome watching her and her daughter from an outside window. I would not have connected these story points, without time away and the boy (whom isn’t a new character to the book) will be much more potent to the plot.

M:  What books/authors have most influenced you in your life?

G:  Hugh Howey, this person is an independent writer who has made a large success in his, WOOL trilogy. If you haven’t read, WOOL, I highly recommend it to anyone who likes an apocalyptic world, mixed with a mystery and dialog that’s believable.  My second would be, Stephen King. Many nights at my job, I listen to audio books written by him. His writing flows very well; I only wish he would get his mind out of the gutter. My favorite book by him is, Misery. Not much swearing and zero perversion, it’s a very well-crafted thriller.

M:  What are you currently reading? What is your favorite genre?

G:  Currently I’m listening to, Fall of the Governor: Book two. It’s a story in the world of The Walking Dead, but it follows the Governor. He’s not the man we think he is at all. … Now, to be clear, I’m a fan of swearing when the moment calls for it, but unfortunately in The Walking Dead novels, the swear words are sprinkled about randomly like sprinkles on a cupcake.  My favorite genre would be, thrillers, something with a great plot and dialog.

M:  Tell everyone where they can go to learn more about you & your thrilling novel, Territory:

You can find, Territory on Amazon at the link below and on Kindle found by the same link in the “See all formats and editions” category.

AND coming soon around 5/20/2016, Territory will be on Audible.

My Interview with Beth Argyropoulos or as I like to call her Beth Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrg!


If you liked the special guest interview I did with Beth Argyropoulos on the very fabulous, Hall of Tweets: Beyond the Bio with @KateWhineHall then you will enjoy this never seen before director’s cut.

K: Your name?

M: Marietta Rodgers is my pen name; my real name is Melissa. Very few people know that fact; I figured I would start small and tell the whole internet.

K: Where do you live?

M: The United States of ‘Murica in Greensboro, NC (historic civil rights sit-in, home of O’Henry, Orson Scott Card & Glamour Shots probably)

K: When did you start tweeting?

M: A few years ago, I needed an internet presence to help promote my first book, The Bill.

K: How many followers do you have?

M: I have close to 7k currently.

K: What year did you graduate high school?

M: I graduated at the height of the flannel shirt epidemic.

K: What do you do when you’re not on Twitter? (career/hobbies)

M: I have two degrees, they are in Accounting and Business and like all people with two degrees; I barely even use one of them. I work in an office and rearrange the Treasure Trolls on my desk all day. You can see where the writing and comedy would come naturally with a background like that. My main hobby is eating cheese, but sometimes I like to spend time with my kids, when it doesn’t interfere with my cheese thing, because they are pretty cool. I read extensively; I’m all over the map as far as genres go, but I love satire and absurdist/existentialism. I like Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, Joseph Heller, Anthony Burgess, Tom Stoppard and Martin McDonagh, just to name a few. I also like atheist authors Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Gore Vidal and Salman Rushdie. I’m working on my third novel, which is currently untitled.

B: Can you tell us what your Twitter handle means?

M: I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. I’m extremely political and I wanted to combine politics with cheese somehow and I think I very subtly accomplished that. The antisocialsocialist is just because I like people, I just don’t want them anywhere near me.

B: Your 1980s tweets are incredible. Thank you for that. I often put on leg warmers and play my Casio keyboard guitar circa 1987 to score your awesomeness. Tell me, what do you miss about the 80s?

M: Thank you; I’m usually wearing my parachute pants, cheap plastic accessories and singing Mr. Roboto, while I type them. I miss the fun and the corniness of that era; it was definitely a decade that didn’t take itself too seriously. I mean John Carpenter movies and movies like Highlander and Flash Gordon are just like lightening in a bottle; you can’t make those movies today and have the same effect. Jack Burton and Snake Plissken are like comic book characters; they’re larger than life. I think anyone who was a kid during that time, would agree, that there are endless 80’s jokes to be made. I’ve forced my kids to watch and listen to 80’s movies and music, like any good parent, and they think it’s the best/worst thing ever. My kids are cool; they get the irony.

B: Your blog,, is unlike most I’ve seen in that it seems to be an ongoing story. Can you tell me more about that?

M: I’m writing a story with a long time friend of mine, Bryan Robertson (@Chyld). He and I met during the complaint rock years. I was dating a friend of his and he was dating a friend of mine; we’ve remained friends through the years. It’s just mainly us doing what we have always done, which is to laugh at our own jokes and be nonsensical. We are the Andy Kaufman and Bob Zmuda of the internet. I also conduct interviews to help support my friend’s endeavors. I plan on writing some funny essays as well, but I have to put that on the back burner to write my third novel and goof off on Twitter, because priorities.

B: I can’t wait to read a funny essay by you, lady. As you know, I’m new to the whole blog thing. There seems to be this incredibly snarky attitude when you tell someone you have a blog. Probably why I’ve avoided it for so long. I’m a wuss. I feel that a blog to a writer is the same thing as playing gigs in small bars to an up and coming band, or an artist having a small show at a lesser known gallery. I’m not sure why there is so much sneering towards a person trying to find their voice as a writer in a form of a blog? What are your thoughts?

M: That’s a great analogy. People often look at blogs like it’s a Twisted Sister cover band. I think there is a snarky attitude to blogs, podcasts, etc., mainly because there are so many of them out there, but it helps get your work noticed and that’s the primary goal. I think it’s all just a matter of finding your target audience.

B: Great Points. And it’s funny you mention “Twisted Sister Cover Band” because in 2016 my blog will be solely about bands who play Twisted Sister. Tell me, what 1980s band would you want to be a member of and why?

M: The Fat Boys rap group, because I meet both their criteria and Stryper for obvious reasons.

B: Darling, you’re thin and fabulous. Pah-leese! OK, Your latest book, Looney Bin Incorporated, is brilliant, and to me, seems to be almost be in the great tradition of southern Gothic mixed with, say, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” What was your primary inspiration for writing this book?

M: Thank you; it was a lot of fun to write and a lot more light-hearted humor than my first novel, The Bill. I primarily wrote it as a jab to big business and how they control everything from the news to the government. The story is an amalgam of a couple of different jobs I had right out of college. I actually wrote a play about it originally and submitted it in a BBC contest (no, I didn’t win).

B: Are any of the characters in your books based on people you know?

M: Yes, I worked for a nonprofit when I lived in New York, which provided services for chronically, mentally ill clients. There were some schizophrenic clients, who would come in, and one time I was in the office alone with a woman, who was having a conversation with herself and laughing. Those were some good times.

B: I worked in nonprofit too, in Atlanta. I worked in the fundraising end though- typically with CEOs, so, I also worked with the mentally insane. Ha! So, ultimately, do you hope that your books are able to reach people and perhaps wake them up a bit politically/socially?

M: Well, politically, I think whether you are a Republican or Democrat, you need to wake up and smell the filibuster, because your government is no longer working for you. Obstructionism has been the trend for quite a while now. I want to push people and get them to think beyond sound bites from the news. I also think corporations have a moral obligation to pay their employees a living wage. You can’t cut social programs and not raise the minimum wage; you have to take a more humanistic point of view.

B: I absolutely agree. I’ll never understand the inability of Americans to grasp this very basic idea. I think it’s a lack of correct information, for starters. So, was your family political growing up, and if so, are they liberal as you are?

M: I didn’t have any parents; I was raised by a pack of wolves with an excellent cable package. Yes, my parents are political; they are both Democrats and they’ve voted in every election, since they were old enough to vote. I’m not kidding, everything from President to the Senate, all the way down to the municipal elections. I would say they are moderate Democrats, as opposed to the atheist, commie-pinko monster that they raised.

B: Me too. My parents were Kennedy Catholics and I went off the deep end into the lefty-left-left . Perhaps it’s the next phase in political evolution. I’m definitely a non-conformist, in any case. That’s one of the things that drew me to your account- it’s original and so bloody clever! Important question: do you identify more with the punk or the hippie movement? And if you relate to the hippies, would you be willing to take a shower?

M: It would definitely be with the punk movement, hippies are lame. I still wouldn’t be willing to take a shower though.

B: I knew you were a punk, sister. I just wanted you to have a shower. We’ve received complaints. You and I are both HUGE Kids in the Hall fans. To me, they revolutionized sketch comedy in the 90s. I thought of them as what punk rock is to mainstream music. What comedy do you think is cutting edge right now?

M: Yes, I am a huge KITH fan. I saw them over the summer in Durham, NC; they were amazing. I’m not sure about cutting edge, but I think there are a lot of smart comedies out there right now like Portlandia; that show does a great job of capturing liberal excess. I love their, “Women and Women Bookstore” sketches. Veep is good, because I imagine a lot of that stuff goes on behind the scenes in Washington. I also like Bob’s Burgers, because I can relate a lot to the character Gene. I enjoy shows with pop culture references in them, it’s low brow humor, but I like the 80’s/90’s references. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Eric Andre Show are shows like that. The Eric Andre Show gets great guests like the Iron Sheikh, Lou Ferrigno, Dolph Lundgren and one time Henry Rollins came out and did nothing but yell about frozen yogurt; I nearly collapsed.

B: Great picks. Which Kids in the Hall did you relate to most? And if you didn’t- why are you lying to me?

M: I think it would be Kevin McDonald, because he is often overlooked when people talk about The Kids in the Hall, although; I think he had some brilliant sketches. I’ve sometimes felt overlooked in my life, especially when being picked for dodge ball.

B: Do you ever panic that you’ll never come up with another funny thing to say again?

M: Yes, eventually my tweets will peak and I’ll be like a comedy cliché, where people will say, “she’s okay, but I liked her earlier work better.”

B: Rick Astley: Great singer or greatest singer?

M: He is the biggest thing to come out of England since Churchill and the Beatles.

B: That was a trick question. The correct answer was: “Who is Rick Astley?” But…back to serious things…Twitter. What about Twitter horror stories? Stalkers, @ers, trolls? Had any of those?

M: The only person who stalks me is @bourgeoisalien and I’m filing a restraining order against her, right after I throw her a surprise birthday party. I’ve had people make rude or lewd (and other things that rhyme with rude) @’s and DM’s, but for the most part, everyone has been really cool to me. I absolutely hate it though, when someone makes a serious comment to a satirical tweet. If you have to explain your jokes, then they aren’t funny anymore. I started out making jokes on Facebook, but it takes a billion dollar idea like that, to make us all realize that our families don’t have a sense of humor. My family thinks I invented sarcasm.

B: Whoa, I’ve heard about @bourgeoisalien. All I’m saying is, if she shows up at your house with a boom box over her head, don’t make eye contact…but also offer her cake. She likes cake. Alright, funny lady- who are some comedians (or comedy shows/sitcoms) who have influenced you?

M: I think Richard Pryor was raw, brutally honest, told the best stories and formulated the best characters. The same can be said for Eddie Murphy. I also liked Steven Wright, George Carlin, Dana Carvey and Janeane Garofalo. I watched comedy shows like The Kids in the Hall, MS3K, The Critic, Dr. Katz, SNL, In Living Color, The Tick and The Daily Show when Craig Kilborn was host. My favorite contemporary comedians would be Patton Oswalt, Amy Schumer, John Mulaney, Demetri Martin, Lewis Black, Sarah Silverman, John Oliver, Doug Benson, Gary Gulman and one of my very favorites, Eddie Izzard. I’ve seen him perform twice and I met him in New York. He is just as bouncy and bubbly off stage as he is on; he also wears the best shades of lipstick. If you’ve never seen his, “Star Wars Cantina” bit, you should definitely check it out. I’ve saved the best for last, which of course is Robin Williams. I don’t think there has ever been a better comedian at doing improv ever. His death was such a great loss to comedy and humanity.

B: Oh wow, yes…I remember when Robin Williams died. I was actually talking with a dear friend on twitter and I told him I couldn’t tweet for a while. I was so sad to hear of his death. He was a beautiful soul. Dead Poet’s Society was a brilliant film; I think I’ll always think of him as some sort of mentor. Let’s talk books, what’s your favorite book of all time?

M: That is so hard, because I’ve read so many great books, but I guess I would say it’s Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

B: And what’s your favorite movie of all time?

M: This is the Sophie’s Choice of questions for me. I will give you my top five favorite directors instead, since it would be impossible for me to name one movie. My favorites are: Stanley Kubrick, Coen brothers, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and John Carpenter.

B: You and I are so in sync with our film choices. I want to crawl inside a Coen brother’s movie and live there. What advice do you have for someone who’s trying to get better at joke writing on Twitter?

M: Try your jokes out on unsuspecting strangers first and if they don’t call the cops or start crying, then tweet it.

B: Tell us something about yourself people on Twitter may not know.

M: I have a black belt in karate; I practiced karate and taekwondo for six years and some Jeet Kune Do. I watched a ton of Kung Fu Theater growing up and movies like Enter the Dragon, Fist of Fury and embarrassingly Gymkata and Revenge of the Ninja. I competed in the North Carolina state games several years in a row and won some gold medals. (They are not real gold; please don’t rob me) So yeah, I like to solve all my problems with my fists. Now though, I express all my rage by pointing to various Pokemon cards. My crowning achievement in life, which is sad, was getting The Legend of Kage high score, circa 1989, in the Nintendo Power Magazine, because the publication circulated in the U.S as well as Canada. I shoved it in all my friends’ faces at school like it was a degree from Harvard, while wearing my Nintendo power glove. What can I say; I know how to wield a shuriken like nobody’s business.

B: Name five tweeters (or less) whose tweets consistently make you laugh.

M: Oh my, there are so many deserving accounts. I hope I don’t offend anyone by leaving them out, but in no particular order they are: @bourgeoisalien, @ObscureGent, @Swoldemort, @TheCatWhisprer and @Chyld.

B: Since you asked me, I MUST ask you (thanks James Lipton): When you meet God- what will he say to you?

M: I thought I told you to kill James Lipton.

Be sure and check out the books, The Big Book of Parenting Tweets and The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets and The Hall of Tweets: embracing the #twitter addiction

Read Beth’s blog at and follow her on Twitter @bourgeoisalien

Interview with Taffy Bennington


Today I’m talking with the hilarious Taffy Bennington. She makes quirky sing-along YouTube videos that the whole family can enjoy. Follow her on Twitter @singwithTaffy.

M:  Are you a singer/musician in your day-to-day life, or are the music videos just a hobby?

T:  I founded and operate a rescue/shelter for Capybaras and Pekingese hidden deep in the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s called ALIEN LIFEFORMS MASQUERADING AS EARTH MAMMALS or ALMAEM.

M:  I worked for one of those shelters; we were only able to rescue a Platypus and Gary Busey though.

M:  What kind of musical training have you had?

T:  My first gig was performing Ethel Merman show tunes, with my serpent V.20 at Carnivale in Chronic Grime Sector. You could say it was a rough crowd.

M:  I think show tunes are the number one reason for gang violence.

M:  Where do you get the ideas to make your music videos?

T:  The day before we shoot, I receive a map to hidden locations containing lyrics, costumes and a shot list for the video.

M:  Where do you get all of your costumes and how many wigs do you own?

T:  I make 63% of my costumes. Not sure what a wig is.

M: Hang on and I’ll look it up. It says they were pasty white dudes during the early 19th century.

M:  How long does it take you to make one of your videos?

T:  2:27-3:38 standard earth minutes.

M:  In your song, “Dry Mangina,” I recognize a lot of Twitter friends.  How did you incorporate them into your video?

T:  I traveled to each of their houses, mixed up some Dry Manginas and pushed the record button.

Team Mangina:

@AGreaterMonster, @DarkerWillow, @GOMCcases, @Henry_3k

@Hobo_Splendido, @iinkedZombie, @KentWGraham, @MableGertrude,

@MurrayOverboard, @PFitzpa, @sdarancette, @Super_Cynthia,

@TattleTSister, @tsm560, @tWoTcast and @TySmithdrums

M:  Can I borrow your mermaid costume?

T:  It’s on your front porch.

M: I see it! The UPS man is trying it on right now.

M:  Do you think James Bond should change his signature drink to a dry mangina?

T:  It’s a complicated recipe; I believe a man of action like 007 might be attacked while waiting for the concoction.

M:  Your video, “You See What I’m Sayin’?” is my favorite of all the songs; it’s like a Tarantino short. Where did you get the idea for it?

T:  That’s very kind of you, thank you. It’s a documentary of my typical Tuesday. Gollum insists on a weekly bike ride at Zuma Beach. He can be quite demanding.

M:  You say, “Susan” a lot in the song. Is she a person you know, or are you saying that deep down, we are all Susan?

T:  I’m not really saying Susan, it’s a common misconception. Here’s what’s actually happening:

You see what I’m sayin’?




M:  Ah, I see what you did there. I think you learned that trick from Eddie Vedder.

M:  I love your video, “Butterflies Taste Like Butter and Flies;” it’s very psychedelic. Who won the Connect Four game?

T:  I WAS VICTORIOUS. The black haired broad got all boiling mad when I won and blasted her face with a lazer.

M:  I noticed you incorporated a couple of different movies into the video; do films play a part in all of your work?

T:  Are you referring to your historical documents? Yes, they have influenced my assimilation into your culture.

M:  Is the part where you are in a monkey suit, breaking the Connect Four game to Strauss, in the director’s cut of 2001 Space Odyssey?

T:  Yes and I was unaware of this until @Henry_3k brought it to light. He’s been filling in for my geriatric manager Sid Jewison who did too much blow with his 80’s musician clients. If you see him cruising the Sunset Strip in his red Porsche, tell him to call me.

M: I know a Catholic priest named Sid Jewison; he does a lot of blow too.

M:  Thank you by the way, for teaching us the correct pronunciation of butter. A lot of people don’t know it’s pronounced, “buttah.”

T:  It’s my pleasure darling but my female spawn Laffy should be credited with edification of the widely misused butter elocution.

M:  In your song, “You’ve Got Hair and You’ve Got Eyes,” I feel like you are singing directly to me, because I meet both criteria. Where did you learn to roller skate like that?

T:  You do indeed, and might I say they are quite lovely! My Twitter sister @buhsbaby_baby is a roller derby coach. She uses a shrill whistle and runs me through drills until my spleen hurts.

M:  Out of all your music videos, which one was your favorite to make and why?

T:  I enjoyed the making of Dry Mangina. It allowed me to experiment with my Calamity Beam Platform technology and I now have places to crash across America and some parts of Canada.

M:  Tell the alcoholics and homeless people where they can find you on the interwebs.


Interview with Bryan Robertson co-author of Bacon Saves The World.

It’s All Kittens & Dildos! 


 Bryan and I doing our court-ordered public service, handing out condoms to drunk, horny teenagers. October 31, 1995.

M: Where are you located on the planet?

B:  On the top, thankfully, but more specifically, D.C., or at least that’s what I tell people. My “DC” is short for “Danville City.” It’s a small city in South Central VA.

M: I bet South Central VA has some lame-ass rappers.

B: Yeah… see why I shorten it to DC? So I’ll know the touch of a woman. Nobody happily tells their parents they’re porking a dude from Danville City.

M: Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me. I won’t tell anyone.

B:  Thanks, and BTW, I was one of those lame-ass rappers. I use to run a studio with my friend, Aaron. We actually have an album floating around out there. Our second album was about 85% complete when we gave it all up. The fame was just too much.

Here’s a link to one of my songs on YouTube called Fairy Tales:

M:  HaHa! I’m pretty sure that Aaron gave me your first CD. I think it might be down in my basement somewhere; it would have been circa 2003.

B: The best part of that album was the artwork; I shot all the photos myself.

M: What is it like growing up/living in the South?

B:  I hate it. There are mosquitoes here, but my family is here too, so, you know… I’m surrounded by blood suckers. I hate having a country accent. Your readers probably can’t even understand what I’m saying right now.

M:  Hang on…I’m waiting for the interpreter I hired to finish translating what you just said. I also have someone doing sign language for my blind audience.

B:  I’ll wait…

M:  What do you do for a living?

B:  I’m a warehouse manager. It’s boring as hell, but, it gives me plenty of free time to pay bills, watch porn or write jokes in between paying bills and watching porn.

M:  But when do you find the time to watch more porn?

B:  All things are possible through Jesus.

M:  What are some of your favorite hobbies?

B:  I love playing Xbox or binge watching TV with my wife. We’re into a lot of the same shows, like Flash, Criminal Minds, Brooklyn 99.  Wow… now that I think about it, my hobby is sitting.

M:  Describe in excruciating detail how we became friends. (If it’s not too painful for you.)

B:  Many moons ago, I dated your friend and you dated mine. Not sure which came first. The earliest memory I have of you, was when my friend said something (probably stupid) and you responded with, “Ding ding ding ding! Number one answer!” That’s when I knew we would be best buds for many hours to come.

M:  HaHa! “Friend of mine.” We sound like we are in the mafia. For those of you who don’t speak Cosa Nostra, “friend of mine” is a connected guy and “friend of ours” is a made guy.

B:  I think I dated a girl named Cosa Nostra once.

M: Those were some good times, piling in the back of your bad ass Steve McQueen car. I loved visiting you at around 2 am, when you were finishing up your shift, because you always hooked us up with some cheese fries with all the fixin’s.

B:  Damn it. Now I want cheese fries. Yeah, I forgot I use to wait tables back then. That was a sweet gig. If you poked the cheesecake, they couldn’t sell it. So I ate SO MUCH CHEESECAKE!

M:  Does your family think you are funny?

B:  Funny looking? Yes. Funny haha? Well that depends on just how drunk those assholes get. I am the comedian in the family, but I think most of them tune me out when they’re sober. Thankfully, that is not very often. My wife hates my jokes, regardless of her sobriety level.

M:  You tweet a lot about your penis. Have you thought about taking your penis on the road with you and doing a two man comedy act?

B:  I can’t take that thing out in public. Not anymore. Maybe if we worked out something with Skype. It’s notoriously hard to work with as well. Difficult to keep its attention for more than a minute or two. Talk about funny, though. Always gets a laugh, that one.

M:  Besides your penis, where do you get the inspiration for some of your tweets?

B:  I find inspiration everywhere. The world is ripe with material. Sometimes if I’m stuck, however, I have this little trick I do where I just start writing randomly and call upon The Force to finish the tweet for me. If it’s not funny by the time I reach the end, I replace the final word with “Valtrex” or some other made up word like that. I’ll keep doing it as long as it keeps working. The trick, not the Valtrex.

M:  Who are some of your favorite comedians?

B:  I love comedians so much. It’s hard to narrow it down. The greats, of course. Pryor, Carlin, Murphy. Mitch Hedberg was right up my alley. That dude was amazing. Today I’m into Doug Benson, Hannibal Buress, Amy Schumer even though she’s blocking me on twitter, Ron Funches… The list is huge! The list would be shorter if you asked me who I hate. Yeah, let me give you that list instead. Carrot Top and Hitler. Name one joke he ever did. You can’t. Know why? His material sucked. Figure out which one of those guys I’m talking about? Trick question! Both.

M:  You take that back about Hitler!

B:  Poor Carrot Top. Hitler gets defended over him.

M:  We both share a deep love for Swamp Thing; he is the sex symbol of our generation. Were you just a fan of the movies or were you a comic book fan as well?

B:  Funny, I use to work at a comic book store when I was younger, and I never was into his comic. But the movie was my joint! I was more into Spider-Man, Hulk, Supes and Batman. I think I always thought he was sexiest on film. Plus his love interest (from the neck down) had me sprung.

M:  You don’t love Adrienne Barbeau’s perm?! This interview is over!

B:  I bet it matched the carpet. Gotta love the 80’s. I hear Swamp Thing will be in the Justice League Dark movie. I hope so! Maybe he’ll get a love story arc.

M:  You are the co-author of Bacon Saves the World. (Me being the other one) What do you like about writing with me and what do you think I bring to the story?

B:  The best part about writing with you is that you keep me on track. There is a lot to love about writing with you, but that is most important in my opinion, because I tend to leave projects 85% completed. (See my last rap album & 2013’s kitchen remodel project) Come to think of it, we’re at about 85% now, aren’t we?

M:  It seems like we are about 50% complete, but I’ll let you know as soon as I finish reading it.

B:  Another great thing about our partnership is that we make each other laugh. I look forward to your parts, and more than that, I look forward to sending you mine. Sometimes I’ll write something down and think to myself, M’s gonna LOVE that.

M:  I do the same thing. I know immediately when I’m writing something that you are going to love; same with tweets. One of the things that still makes me laugh every time I think about it, is when you describe Trump’s Death.

“Well as you’re aware, my primary concern during my campaign was illegal immigration. I swore to the American people that I’d finish Trump’s wall. During his visit to my state to oversee the project, I promised Trump himself that I’d finish it as he lie dying in my arms, when that Mexican construction worker fell off the wall and onto him.” – Bacon Saves The World.

B:  Haha… Tons of great stuff like that in there. From both of us. My favorite contribution from you was the Sex and the City and Death film trilogy within the story. A close second would have to be when one of our protagonists, Yukon Catan, dove into The Potomac.

“He always wore a wet suit underneath his clothes, to him it was like a bullet proof vest; you never knew when it might save your life. It had come in handy a few other times as well, but it was a little bit annoying when he was trying to have sex with his wife, because it was a bitch to take off.” – Bacon Saves The World.

B:  You bring a lot of joy to the work. I look forward to doing more. Like the spin-off series we have been spitballing. Is spitballing one word or two?

M:  It’s three words. A spin-off series would be awesome. I have endless pop culture references as you know. I hope Putin can be in this one; I love making jokes about him. I’m hoping that our current story ends Hateful 8 style.

B: I just hope people read it and think to themselves, What the Hell am I reading? Then continue reading. That’s my goal. To write something so off the wall that the reader has to wonder what wrong turn they made in their life that led to our book.

“If the object turns out to be an asteroid, I can promise you; we will not stand idly by like the dinosaurs did. We are Americans and we have much larger brains. As with every other challenge in our nation’s history, we will prevail, unlike that time in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Civil War, depending on which side you were on.” – Bacon Saves The World.

M:  You wrote a story for your daughter that you have read to her frequently. Have you thought about becoming a children’s author?

B:  I would love that. But children’s books are hard. You wouldn’t think they would be, but so much ground has been covered, it’s hard to plant new seeds. Just recently I wrote an entire Christmas book and had an illustrator lined up and everything. Come to find out that the story I was working on was already done. Ouch. Maybe I’ll publish the book I wrote for my daughter one day. That is unless someone else beats me to it.

M:  Is it accurate to say politically, that you are loyal to ideas as opposed to parties?

B:  Very accurate, although, if I had to categorize myself, I fit more with the Libertarian party. I hate Democrats and Republicans equally and for different reasons and for similar reasons.

M:  You are a fellow atheist. When did you arrive at that conclusion and did our mutual friend influence that decision? (He has some brilliant arguments.)

B:  I was atheist before I met him. As far back as I can remember, I was being dragged to church and I remember thinking to myself, even at a young age, Wait… You guys believe this poop? I’ve just always believed it was made up. Like the tooth fairy for adults. I think religion is designed to give hope to the hopeless and keep order. I’ve never felt otherwise, but I did believe Darth Vader was real. So…

M:  What do you think the Church of Darth Vader would be like? Do you think he would choke out people who didn’t tithe?

B:  I feel like if you’re a member of the Church of Darth Vader and you’re having a lack of faith, you should probably keep it to yourself.

M:  I was mainly ambivalent about it for a number of years, because as a teenager, Jeezus wasn’t really on my radar. I wish we lived in a world without religion; it’s been the number one cause of war since man and religion have been around. I would recommend to people to read Christopher Hitchens’ God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, it’s the most well-rounded argument I’ve heard for atheism.

B:  I would recommend they read our book instead and except Kanye Christ as their savior or their exclamation of choice. Try it next time you stump your toe; it’s refreshing.

M: It is brilliant and so are you, just like me, in that very dumb/genius kind of way.

B:  Yes, you and I are perhaps the greatest people on the planet.

M: We are definitely in the Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Swamp Thing upper echelon. What does your nickname, “Chyld” mean?

B:  I go by Chyld, because it has been my nickname for so long. I got it, because I was considered “innocent” by all my friends for never drinking, smoking or taking anything illegal. That, and my child-like penis.

M: That’s funny, because I distinctly remember a drunken gathering at Aaron’s house, where everyone was tanked except for you. I was so sick that I had to lie down in Aaron’s bathtub, because the other rooms were full. This would be the infamous tub that Aaron soaked in for like 10 hours a day.

M:  Tell the weirdoes where they can find you on the internet.

B:  I’m at TA.CO all the time. It’s not MY website, it’s Taco Bell’s, but I’m always there. I think that address is brilliant, BTW. I’m constantly on Twitter @Chyld and on Vine under that username as well.

“I’m pretty excited, you know. What if the aliens are all, ‘we’re here to solve the world’s problems, like you know, fatness and what not.’” – Bacon Saves The World.


Interview with Beth Argyropoulos (@bourgeoisalien)


M:  What were some of your favorite books growing up, and who are some of your current favorite authors?

B:  Growing up I had a hard time finding authors I related to- I found most of what I read pretty dull, until 6th grade when I had a sort of rebellious teacher in Catholic school, who made us all read and act out Tennessee Williams, Shakespeare and a host of others. From there, I became a huge fan of Southern Gothic writers- Harry Crews, Flannery O’Connor, John Kennedy Toole and Truman Capote to name a few. Currently I read a huge variety of authors. I just finished Bruce McCulloch’s book, Let’s Start a Riot, which I cannot recommend enough. It was as hysterical, as it was sad at times. I remembered the angst of my first love reading his work, and deeply related to pushing down all feeling about those things- only to find out later it all comes flooding back and you’re helpless in the midst of the chaos you’ve created. I’m also currently reading BJ Novak,  MARIETTA RODGERS (whose book I will be writing about on my blog I love it so much), Joshua Edward Smith’s book, Entropy (which hit close to home in some respects- and it’s beautifully written) and, With a Zero at Its Heart, by Charles Lambert.

M:  You’ve allowed me to have a sneak peek at one of your essays; when are you planning to unveil your genius to the world?

B:  Oh dear….I am a wimp- I started a blog because when someone from, Kids in the Hall,  lights a fire under your ass; you fucking listen! Ha! But, truly- I just want to write- and see what happens. I am going to send more pieces to publishers and hopefully someone won’t hate what I wrote…gulp

M: I wish someone from Kids in the Hall would light a fire under my ass. Not a metaphorical fire either, but an actual fire, just so we can laugh about it and incorporate it into a skit.

M:  What’s it like to be a liberal in Florida?

B:  Just about the same as anywhere I’ve lived in all truthfulness. I know people in the north like to think of the south as morons- and in many cases that’s true, but- I would submit that morons are most of humanity…everywhere. My first week in Chicago, a man said to me, “Whatever you do, don’t live on the south side- that’s where they have the blacks.” Ugh… “THE BLACKS.”  I kid you not. And let’s not forget, historically, the worst race riots in the states were in Boston. So yes, being a liberal in the south has its challenges, but I surround myself with insane creative types and other lefty liberals no matter where I live, so I don’t notice much outside the world I create for myself. Good or bad- it’s how I cope.

M:  We’re both liberals, but we also like to poke fun at the liberal culture. What are some things that you find funny about the culture?

B:  HAHA!! So much! I think, Portlandia has absolutely nailed it. So, I’ll try to be succinct. If I have to put it all into one observation, it’s this: I find liberals to be more interested in being self-important than actually being effective in situations so often; politically this kills us.  But even on a personal level, if liberals would learn to be a little more down to earth and welcoming, I think that would draw more people to a cause, as opposed to having someone shout in your face how stupid you are. At the end of the day: do we want to look good, or have more people come on board through humility and embracing each other to fight the very real issue of global warming for example? It’s like my Nana said: You attract more flies with honey, than you do vinegar…but who wants flies? Now I’m confused…

M:  We grew up on KITH (I feel sorry for those people who don’t know what that abbreviation stands for). Did you and your friends ever reenact some of their sketches? No judging, did you ever crush someone’s head?

B:  ALL THE TIME! I mainly did the Dave Foley bit. I came off as sarcastic and aloof the way he did in many sketches, and I guess I related to that. I still know all the words to his monologue about being bored, about being a serial killer and “I’m a bad doctor.” But my favorite were Bruce’s songs- “Daves I Know” and “Terriers.” They will never leave me.

M:  I am a huge fan of your tweets and I’ve read enough of them to know, that you have a fixation with the sitcom, Full House. Is it Joey’s witty one-liners, Danny Tanner’s cleanliness, or Uncle Jessie’s catch phrase, “have mercy?”

B:  I played both Olsen Twins- don’t tell anyone. Also? That show is comedy genius. Don’t question me.

M:  Is there any one thing on Twitter that bothers you the most, such as stupid @ers, unwanted DM’s, etc.?

B:  Yes- when people explain my own joke to me, or don’t get the joke and tell me how to make it funnier. To them I say: suck my balls- but you know, in a good way.

M:  I read your most recent blog about Thanksgiving. Is there any one particular Thanksgiving or holiday that was memorable for you?

B:  No- they we’re all pretty lame. It was just me, my mom, brother and dad. My brother was a track and field star and ran 20 miles; I would see him for like 10 minutes. My father watched football and my mom and I were bored. THANKSGIVING SUCKED. But now, it’s wonderful. I have a house full of friends, no awful extended family, and it’s beautiful to look down at my son and know that he is growing up with so much joy and festivity around him. This year, they were out in the back playing zombie tag until midnight and the adults were inside drinking wine, listening to Depeche Mode and having a brilliant night. It’s important to create your own happiness. Yuck…was that inspirational? I’m so sorry.

M:  We have discussed films in the past & you recommended I see, Being There, which I did. Peter Sellers was brilliant in it. What are some of your favorite comedic films? Name a few of your favorite comedic actors.

B:  I tend to like dark comedies or things that are unintentionally funny. Christopher Guest and all his mockumentaries kill me. I like Martin Scorsese when he does a funny film- like King of Comedy and After Hours.  Bill Murray, John Cleese, Ricky Gervais, Woody Allen…so many! Ed Wood  and Waiting for Guffman always kills me…

M:  Is there anything you liked or wore during the 80’s or 90’s, that you are now ashamed of, or do you regret nothing?

B:  Um, my love letter to George Michael when I was 12. He’s pretty hard up, what with all the court fees- if he ever finds that mess; he could black mail me.

M:  If you were on Jeopardy, what category would you kick ass in?

B:  Potpourri…but only if it was actually about Potpourri

M:  My final question I stole from, Inside the Actors Studio, just because it’s the lamest question ever. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say at the pearly gates?

B:  Beth, you are so thin.

M:  Tell the perverts, pedophiles, and general weirdos, where they can find you on the interwebs, so they can read some of your brilliant comedy.

B: Twitter: @bourgeoisalien


Pornhub: video entitled “Angry woman eats mac and cheese and never takes off clothes”



Interview with Aaron and James Alvarez of The Obscure Gentlemen

aaron1-300x300 james

Today I’m talking with James and Aaron, two brothers and archenemies, of the very funny web comic, The Obscure Gentlemen. James also hosts, 12 For A Penny, a podcast dedicated to his favorite music. Aaron co-hosts, Plain Zero, a podcast where they watch a movie from the past, and discuss whether or not it stands the test of time.

M: What inspired you to start a web comic?

J: My little brother Aaron (The now artist) asked me to help him come up with ideas for a comic he was doing for his blog. So like a good older brother I told him that I was in charge now and we were going to do it on my terms. I also hit him…with my fist.

A: Like James said, I had a blog and from time to time was posting up web comics. They were mostly nonsensical and leaned towards absurdist, but in a bad way. So I asked him if he wanted to make a web comic and, well, here we are today.

M: How much of your background and experiences go into your comics?

J: A lot actually. Almost each comic is based off of an observation or an experience. When we first started it was mostly just snarky three panels. Now I like to go for more things based off of actual human interaction.

A: I’m like Daniel Day Lewis. Before each web comic, I’ll spend a year living out the life of the strip before drawing it. The logistics are a nightmare since we do one a week. It’s worth it though.

M: I noticed you have a slight obsession with Juggalos. Did one of them ever inappropriately touch you?

J: No! You were a Juggalo! Actually I love metal and took a short detour into the realm of the Insane Clown Posse. I liked their music and thought it was funny. Then I learned about other Juggalos and the culture and I felt like a I fell for a ruse. Now I lash out at this cult.

A: I was a 10 year old Juggalo. Those were dark times.

M: I was a Gigolo not a Juggalo, so stop trying to drag me down to your level!

M: Did you read a lot of comics growing up and what were some of your favorites?

J: Like most kids I liked super heroes and comics. It wasn’t until I got older that I really appreciated books like the Preacher, Watchmen, and Sandman. From there I really got into main stream Marvel comics and I’ve been a “Marvel Zombie” ever since. Wolverine makes me cry sometimes.

A: Thanks to my brother I grew up in a world of comic books. Green Lantern (The Kyle Rayer era) was really what got me hooked. I used to be a big DC Comics reader and I’m still obsessed with Superman. The Nu52 happened and now I’ve made mine Marvel. As for favorites, probably Preacher, Starman, Hitman and anything with the Fantastic Four. I still keep up with Green Lantern and Superman though. I could go on for hours with this question.

M: If you could have any super power what would it be?

J: The power cosmic, because I would wield it like a mother fucker. Not a literal one. Really there is nothing better than that power so suck my nuts flying because I could do that and everything else.

A: Matter manipulation. To control matter is the control the building blocks of the universe. I’d put it to good use though… I think.

M: Aaron is a co-host and James has been a guest a number of times on the podcast, Plain Zero, a podcast dedicated to movies and whether or not they hold up over time. I hate movies as you know, but I did notice there wasn’t a single episode dedicated to Stanley Kubrick movies. I would like to hear your thoughts on why they hate Stanley Kubrick and America.

J: I think they have failed to cover Stanley Kubrik because there are no ninja turtles or Bruce Campbell’s in Kubrik movies.

A: I’m actually a huge fan of Kubrick. One day we’ll get to him. Dr. Strangelove is at the top of my list. I just hope the other guys find it as hilarious as I do.

M: As a passionate hater of movies, I have to ask why is the podcast called, Plain Zero and there is not an episode devoted to, The Running Man. Is it because Jesse Ventura does aerobics?

J: I see what you’re doing with that sarcasm and “I don’t do requests”.

A: I could have sworn we did. Hmm. I’ll have to look into that.

M: No need Aaron; I’m right. I do the kind of meticulous research, that Pulitzer Prize winning journalists do. (entered Running Man on your podcast search and came up with no results)

M: James is a host of the podcast, 12 For A Penny, a podcast that discusses music. I also hate music as you know, but I think it’s safe to say you like heavy metal music. What are some of your favorite heavy metal bands?

J: Metal is a music I hold near and dear to my heart. My favorite bands range from having Glenn Danzig with a skull t-shirt to Glenn Danzig wearing mesh shirts. What I’m trying to say is that if you have a song sung by a tiny man then I’m all in.

M: I noticed there were not any episodes devoted to Michael Bolton. Why are you not celebrating his entire catalog?

J: That’s because we are all Michael Bolton in our own little way. Michael Bolton is what gives a person their power. He’s an energy field created by all living things. He surrounds us and penetrates us. He binds the galaxy together.

M: I will accept that answer; I also would have accepted no comment.

M: Out of all the concerts you’ve been to, which one was your favorite?

J: They are all my babies is what some jerk would say. My favorite has to be the first time I saw Danzig back in 93. It was the first time I truly understood music and tiny crooners.

M: Which heavy metal group would you have most wanted to be a roadie for?

J: None, because I assume that the hazing that goes on would be an HR nightmare and who has time for that. Really it would be Iron Maiden because they look like they have fun and aren’t too serious.

 M: Now for the big question all of my readers want to know. (There are none)  Do you have many groupies?

J: We have amazing Gent fans from all over the world. We have had a few weirdos that we have had to block but for the most part just great people who read the comic every week. I love our fans and I’m blown away when people buy our shirts or support us on Patreon. People spending their hard earned money on what we do is something that makes me smile.

M: Please tell the hill folk where they can find your comics and podcasts on the interwebs.

Comic and Podcast site: