“Puff Piece” by Brett Allen

Wallace never asks anyone to lunch unless he has a crap assignment for them and that’s exactly what he had for me. To be fair, he never called it “lunch” anyway. He always said he was going to “treat you to a bite” like you’d won some kind of damn prize, and to imply you weren’t to order anything expensive.

We’d barely sat down outside this small bodega in Queens when he started singing my praises for a recent piece I’d written on the tech industry and its tentacle-like reach into the heart of Washington. He proclaimed it was some real next-level investigative journalism. He was buttering me up and I could tell there was a “but” coming.

But, our readers don’t subscribe for stuff like that,” he said. “They’re looking for more topical news. Current events. Trendy stuff. Stuff they can feel outraged about before their morning dumps, but then dismiss before lunch.”

“So—dribble?” I’d said.

He’d nodded.

“Not dribble. But lighter stuff. More relatable stuff.”


He’d leaned across the table and beckoned me in with his hairy, knuckled, chimp finger. I declined and he went on anyway. Turns out he’d been contacted by a worldwide corporation, headquartered right there in the city, but he wouldn’t say who. They’d recently come under scrutiny by the ultra-left crowd because of perceived poor working conditions and were looking for some positive press. It would be my job to go conduct interviews and generate a puff piece about how progressive the company was and all that happy horse crap. It was nauseating to think about.

“If you can make this piece sing,” he said with a wink, “there could be a promotion in it for you.”

“What’s the company?” I asked.

Wallace leaned in farther, looked around for eavesdroppers, then beckoned me in again. I acquiesced this time. His sour coffee breath was hot in my ear and he slid an address across the table.

Wallace never asks anyone to lunch unless he has a crap assignment for them.

He ordered the California Reuben. I ordered a steak.


            The waiting room in Hell Inc. is not at all what I’d expected, but since it closely resembles the waiting room of my childhood dentist, maybe I should have. There are ancient copies of women’s magazines covering the coffee table, their wrinkled, tattered covers advertising intellectual pieces like, “Six Sinful Ways To Spice Up The Bedroom” and “Nine Signs He’s Cheating.” A fish tank bubbles to my left with four hungry piranhas sizing me up. They take turns testing the glass barrier with their stupid flat faces and protruding lower mandibles. The air smells like antiseptic and my eyes burn. My ears burn too, as smooth jazz plays over the intercom. I wait for what feels like an eternity.

            Finally, the door to the main office swings open and a demon in a smart button-up enters holding a clipboard. He is naked from the waist down, which is oddly okay considering the lack of any distinguishing gender features. Two small horns protrude from the demon’s forehead, both capped with small rubber balls. His—or her—arms and legs are thin and lanky, but when he calls my name his voice is deep, foreboding.

            He calls my name again. I look around the empty waiting room and stand. The demon looks up for the first time and raises an eyebrow, which appears to be on fire.

            “Right,” he says. “You’re the guy from the newspaper?”

            “I suppose so,” I say. “We’re almost entirely digital these days though.”

            The demon stares back at me blankly and then checks his watch.

            “Fascinating. The boss wants you to get a few different perspectives of the work we’re doing down here,” he says, looking back at his board. “I’ve scheduled you for interviews in three different departments. Acceptable?”

            “Acceptable,” I say. “By ‘the boss’, you mean Satan, right?”

            “No, Springsteen,” he says, flatly. “Of course, you twit. And he prefers ‘Lucy’. Short for ‘Lucifer’, ya know?”

            I write this down.

            The demon snaps a finger and the waiting room dissolves into red mist.


            Hell’s operation center, as I learned from the demon who greeted me, is divided into two main efforts. The first operations center focuses entirely on one Internal Operation: the torturing of souls condemned to the underworld. This is historically considered a “cush gig” among the demons as it allows for maximum creativity, with the wiggle room of knowing you have a literal eternity to hone your skills.

The second operation center is focused on Outside Influence. The demons working in “O.I.” are charged with manipulating human behavior to promote depravity, which maximizes the annual soul harvest stats. They are essentially salesmen of sin. They work on commission and are often considered social pariahs among other demon echelons. My first interview is conducted with a 497-year veteran of Escalation Call Center Number Three or EEC #3.

Interview #1: Escalation Call Center Technician Balzoobus:

Me: “Can you state your name for the record?”

Balzoobus: “Balzoobus”

Me: “That’s an interesting name. What does it mean?”

Balzoobus: “It means Balzoobus. Can we get on with this? It’s almost lunch.”

Me: “Right, sorry. Okay. Can you explain to me how the Escalation Call Center works?”

Balzoobus: (Points to the meager desk in front of him. There is a single phone with no buttons.) “It’s simple really. The calls come in, we answer the phone, and tell folks what they want to hear.”

Me: “The calls come to you? But where do they originate?”

Balzoobus: “Sinners, bro. Anytime someone is about to sin, we get a call—wires us directly into the caller’s brain, which gives us instantaneous situational awareness. From there, the job is two-pronged. First, you gotta convince the caller to proceed with the original sin request. This isn’t always easy. Heaven has similar call centers trying to convince folks to be lame.

Me: “Right, like the whole devil and angel on your shoulder thing.”

Balzoobus: “What?”

Me: “Never mind. Go on.”

Balzoobus: “The second part of the job is where the real art takes place. The second part is convincing the caller to escalate their sin. Hence the name. Example: a guy is going to swipe a candy bar, and next thing you know he’s robbing a bank. Tax fraud? How about a triple homicide?”

Me: “That’s awful.”

Balzoobus: “That’s Hell.”

Me: “And you get paid per success?”

Balzoobus: “Yes and no. Payment varies with the degree of escalation. The greater the increase in sin, the greater the payday. And if you get lucky, you get Ripples.”

Me: “Ripples?”

Balzoobus: “Yeah, it’s like royalties for when sins lead to other sins. It gets pretty complicated. See that guy over there?”

Balzoobus points to a demon a few rows down. The demon is wearing a slicked-back toupee and aviator sunglasses. There’s a Rolex watch on his wrist and a gold chain around his neck. For a moment I can smell Axe body spray.

“That’s Jareelz. He makes everyone call him J-Dog. He’s a douche. But he got lucky back in the early 20th century. Convinced some poor Bosnian-Serb schmuck to escalate from bread theft to joining a political extremist group and assassinating the Archduke of Austria-Hungary. Not an easy task. The thing sparked World War One, which led to Hitler, which led to another world war, which led to every other major conflict of the last century. That dude has been collecting on all of it. Ripples, man. Some folks have all the luck.”

Me: “Seems like, with the state of the world now, you guys would be pretty busy down here.”

Balzoobus: (Shrugs) “We have a billion call centers. But yes, we stay busy enough. To be honest, social media algorithms and digital marketing are doing a lot of the heavy lifting nowadays.”

Me: “What am I thinking right now?”

Balzoobus: (Rolls his eye) “It doesn’t work once you’re within the confines of hell. It’s like having two microphones close together. All we’d get is feedback. But I do know all of your digital passwords and can access your web browser search history any time I want. Shall we discuss what’s on there?

Me: “…”

Balzoobus: “…”

Me: “Have you had any big wins recently?”

Balzoobus: (Casts a disdainful glance at J-Dog and then checks his watch) “It’s lunchtime. The cafeteria here is garbage, so most of us have to go out into the Abyss to get anything decent.”

Me: “One last question, before you go. Are you happy working here?”

Balzoobus: “Am I supposed to be?”


The pantsless demon in the smart button-up reappears and before I know it we’re walking through a maze of identical hallways peppered with unlabeled doors. Every turn leads to an identical hallway, bathed in sterile fluorescent light, and I’m positive we’ve passed the same empty water cooler several times. You wouldn’t even know we were in hell if it weren’t for the blood-red stalactites hanging from the ceiling tiles.

“How was the first interview?” The demon asks with feigned interest.

“Good,” I say, trying not to be ungracious. “I got some really good stuff.”

The demon looks annoyed by this.

“Say. What’s your name?” I ask. “I apologize for not asking before. That was rude.”

“And here I thought that was your only redeeming quality.”


The demon pauses outside of a door similar to countess others we’ve passed, except two letters, I.O., are smeared on the frosted glass in what appears to be more blood.

“My name is Rick,” the demon says. “And this is your next stop.”

“I thought I was already here,” I say, cautiously.

Rick is visibly annoyed.

“You were in ‘O.I.’,” he says. “This is ‘I.O.’—Internal Operations. This is Hell Inc.’s bread and butter: the torturing of damned souls. You’ll be meeting with the Department Manager, Azok The Bone Crusher.”

I swallow hard and write the name on my notepad. Rick laughs.

“I’m kidding,” he says. “His name is Mike. But watch out. Mike’s a weasel. He’ll be your best friend until he’s not.”

Interview #2: Internal Operations: Torture Department Manager Mike

Mike is a literal weasel and it’s unsettling. In typical middle manager fashion, his office is arranged according to several textbook “power play” strategies. Elevated desk. Short, uncomfortable visitor chairs. Flaming skulls. Behind Mike’s desk are wall-to-wall windows looking out over a vast lake of fire. Muted screams and shrieks can be heard from outside, intermixed with maniac laughter. Something beneath the waves of flame draws my attention. I squint, only to realize the “lake” is made entirely of writhing, burning bodies.

Mike sees me admiring the lake.

Mike: “Best view in Hell.”

Me: “It’s horrifying.”

Mike nods approvingly. I collect myself and take a seat opposite Mike’s big iron desk. The chair is unbearably hot and I immediately begin to shift in my discomfort.

Me: “So can you tell me a bit about your department?”

Mike smiles a big broad smile and sharp white teeth flash under the brown whiskers of his face. With his paws, he smoothes down his rounded triangular ears.

Mike: “We are the bread and butter of Hell Inc.”

Me: “So I’ve been told. Can you tell me a bit about the department’s structure?”

Mike: “Sure. Sure. The Internal Operations Department is huge and made up of a wide array of subordinate departments, but overall we have one goal: the eternal torment of damned souls. Now I know what you’re thinking. All you mortals are the same. You have this cliché idea that we’re all down here trotting around on our cloven hooves, poking people in the arse with cherry-red pitchforks.”

I nod.

Mike: “That happens, but not as much as you’d think.”

Me: “What are some of the sub-departments?”

Mike gets up from his tall chair and begins pacing in front of the large window, while simultaneously squeezing a stress ball. The inverse of Rick, Mike is not wearing a shirt but is dressed from the waist down in khaki pleated pants and expensive-looking Italian loafers.

Mike: “Oh, we’ve got everything. All the normal departments you’d expect in a big corporation’s task organization. Accounting. Finance. Purchasing. Torment. Research and Development—that’s where we develop tools for the Department of Torment—Marketing. Legal. Illegal. Human Resources, which is like a mini Hell in itself. We do have a few unique departments though. A lot of folks wouldn’t expect it, but we even have a maritime department. Used to be we had a single boat ferrying people across the River Styx, but the volume of souls got to be so much we had to develop a full fleet. If you get a chance, you should go down to the river bank and check it out. Commodore Charon runs a tight ship.”

I’ve been busy writing and failed to notice that Mike has now slipped behind my chair. My shoulders snap up, as he lays his furry hands on them and begins massaging the tight muscles. His grip is firm and mechanical. I’m the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been and I’m fairly sure I can hear him sniffing my hair.

Me: “So…um… if not the pitchfork thing, what’s your… the… um… most prevalent form of torture down here.”

Mike rubs harder.

Mike: “Torment.”

Me: “Sorry?”

Mike: “We call it ‘torment’. ‘Torture’ comes with a certain connotation. I feel like it implies we are trying to extract information or some other end result. There is no end to ‘torment.’”

Me: “Gotcha.”

I try to shrug his paws away, but Mike tightens down again.

Mike: “To be honest, we’ve really been making a concerted effort to bring torment into the 21st century. Like the boat problem, we were just getting too many souls. Good problem to have, I know. But without enough tormentors to go around, our eternal guests really weren’t getting the full hell experience. The trick to torment is consistency and we just weren’t getting that. It got so bad at one point, some guests were getting full minutes of respite from their torment. That was before I took over, of course. I’ve really turned things around.”

There’s an awkward pause and its obvious Mike is waiting for me to ask how he did it. It’s obvious because he pinches me really hard.

Me: “How’d you do it?”

Mike: “Oh, it was nothing, really. At first, we ramped up our virtual reality initiative. That way, when a tormentor couldn’t be actively engaging a guest, they could just be put into simulation and continue the psychological degradation. The problem, though, is it wasn’t cost-effective. The tech gets old and outdated fast. Simulations start looking fake, compared to new tech. Hardware breaks down with all the jerking around and writhing and gnashing. Plus the salt content of tears is highly corrosive. We ended up creating an IT department and the demon-nerds working there were insufferable.”

Me: “So what did you do?”

Mike’s paws work up my neck.

Mike: “I came up with another brilliant solution, of course.

Me: “…”

Mike: “…”

Another pinch.

Me: “Ow. What was it?”

Mike: “Get this. We just let people keep their cell phones!”

Me: “I don’t understand.”

Mike: (Clearly deflated.) “It used to be standard practice to confiscate personal belongings at Reception, but we began noticing people on the surface were miserable all the time. What was causing it? Cell phones! So now, we just let people keep their phones, though we limit their functionality and only allow certain apps.”

Me: “What apps?”

Mike: “Pretty much any social media app.”

Me: “That actually is pretty genius.”

Mike: “Thank you. We’ve been rapidly learning that sometimes the most effective forms of torment are self-inflicted and the tormentee doesn’t even realize they’re happening.

Mike is rubbing my cheeks now and it’s very difficult to write. His breath is unbearable, a slurry of brine-soaked fish rot.

Me: “Ouch!”

Mike staggers back.

Me: “Did you just bite my ear!?”

Mike: “Don’t be preposterous.”

I rub my ear and there’s a definite trickle of blood. Mike’s eyes are wild, so I decide not to press the issue and turn it into a worse situation.

Me: “So how did you come to be in charge of everything?”

My accidental emphasis on the word “you” makes the statement sound like an unbelievable accusation, but Mike doesn’t seem to notice. He struts back around his iron desk and takes a seat, licking his whiskers as he goes. He smiles another big smile.

Mike: “I just kind of weaseled my way into the position.”

I can tell he’s very proud of his stupid joke and I make a show of not writing it down. I’m not going to give him the satisfaction.

The conversation with Mike peters out after this, and I’m sure he can tell I’m irritated about the ear bite. Eventually he intercoms Rick, who appears in a puff of red smoke. Rick immediately spots my bleeding ear and gives me an “I told you so” look.


“I told you so,” Rick says as soon as we’re back in the hall. He moves to the next door and pushes it open to reveal an open platform next to which is docked a large cable car. Spatially, none of this makes sense. The hallway doors are so close together and the platform is so large that, in a world obeying normal physical rules, the cable car would be occupying the same space as Weasel Mike’s desk.

We board the cable car and it immediately lurches to life, sending us rolling out over the lake of fire at an uncomfortable clip.

“Your last stop will be at Reception,” Rick says. “It’s where all the souls are in-processed. It’s like the Ellis Island of Hell Inc.”

As the cable car approaches the far side, I can see Rick was right. Hoards of souls pour off rickety ships that rock in flaming waves and belch black smoke. The masses stream toward a series of gates, where they stand, terrified and weeping, to confirm they are indeed in the right afterlife. Demons in Smoky The Bear hats, similar to those worn by military Drill Instructors, slither through, stopping frequently to scream, heckle, and harangue. Most carry red pitchforks, which they use to poke arses and I wonder if Weasel Mike is aware. 

The cable car docks and soon we are pushing through the throngs of sorrowful souls and malevolent demons. Rick pushes me from behind with a hot, clammy hand on my neck; a move that I assume is meant to both guide and signal to the other demons that I belong to him. We approach a decrepit boathouse that appears to be thatched together with scorched driftwood. Holes dot the building’s facade, but behind them seems to be only impossible darkness, a darkness so complete it leeches the light from the air. On the door is a ragged, wood sign that reads: “Commodore.”

“I get to meet Charon?” I ask, excited at the prospect of being the sole mortal to have personally interviewed the legendary Boatman of Hell.

“Not exactly,” Rick says.

Before I can question him, he pushes me through the front door and into that thick, formless darkness. There is nothingness at first and then, slowly, the darkness recedes, retracting into one single point of origin at the far end of the room. From it, a form takes shape. Standing in the center of the room is an unimposing man with a good-natured, some might say charming, smile. Around him, the room is decorated in the fashion of a modern lake house, with ironic nautical knick-knacks hung from the walls. The man at the center is of slight build but seems to occupy every square inch of free space in the small house, which I know doesn’t make any sense. He is handsome in a way that makes you immediately long for his approval, with olive skin, perfectly coiffed chestnut hair, and teeth so white they border on brilliant. A dimple dots his right cheek. On the breast of his tailored suit jacket is a standard paper name tag: “Hello, I’m:” The name “Lucifer” is scratched out in serial killer font in what appears to again be blood.

The man advances on me in a movement that is more of a glide or slither, than a walk. He extends his hand without a word. He does not need one. The unbearable despair that accompanies his presence is enough to confirm his nametag isn’t lying.

This is Satan.

I remember Rick’s advice earlier and grasp the outstretched hand.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lucy,” I say, shaking vigorously with no feeling of pleasure at all.

I hear Rick gasp behind me.

Satan’s eyes, which had previously been green as emerald seas, collapse into pits of black. Darkness re-enters the room and the nautical knick-knacks fade from view. Two jagged horns spear out from his temples and a long forked tongue spills from behind yellow needle-sharp teeth. He is a hundred feet tall or more.

When he speaks, my eardrums beg to burst. My flesh tries to flee my bones.


Interview #3: Lucy

Things are pretty tense for a few moments before Rick, trembling some, can explain the nature of his practical joke. He will later inform me just how close I’d come to irreversible and eternal obliteration, though he is quite unapologetic. His reason for saving me seems to stem only from the avalanche of paperwork that accompanies the obliteration of a mortal soul.

Lucifer has retracted and now sits in an old rocking chair. He has taken the form of my beloved, and deceased, grandfather, which evokes simultaneous feelings of pleasant nostalgia and resentment, as my rational brain knows it’s being tricked. I sense that Lucifer can feel these conflicted emotions resonating from me like pheromones and he smiles, delighted.

He begins the interview before I can.

Lucifer: “So how has your visit to Hell Inc. been?”

Me: “Eye-opening.”

Lucifer: “I trust you’ve gathered enough information to create a fairly effective piece?”

His voice even sounds like my dead grandpa. I want to punch him, but also hug him or see if I can score a Werther’s Original. I swallow hard and gather my courage.

Me: “To be quite honest, I haven’t really seen many redeeming qualities here. I understand the nature of your…um…company is the wholesale manufacturing of misery, but shouldn’t that stop at the doomed souls? I mean, most of your employees seem to be equally as miserable, unless they’re in some type of position of power. And even then they’re only motivated by more power and a disturbing amount of bloodlust.”

Lucifer: “Yes, we’ve done our best to model ourselves after corporate America.”

Me: “I guess, after being here all day, I really don’t understand the purpose of this assignment or why you need any positive press at all. Everyone here is stuck here. Employees included. You literally have a captive audience.”

The form of my grandfather melts away and the man in the chair morphs into my childhood dog, who’d been hit by a car.

Me: “That’s just messed up, man.”

The dog shrugs and then morphs into a beautiful, voluptuous woman with no shortage of exposed cleavage. My eyes meet the floor.

Lucifer: “The positive press isn’t for people that are already here.”

The woman’s voice is still that of my grandpa’s, which makes everything twice as confused.

Me: “Well, you’re not subject to the laws of the mortal world, so why would you be concerned with what people think up there? Everyone already knows that Hell is… well… Hell.”

The handsome man in the suit reappeared.

Lucifer: “And that’s exactly it. We don’t have an image issue, per se, as much as we have an energy crisis. Do you know what powers all of this?”

Me: “Despair?”

Lucifer: “No. Well, yes. Partially. Despair amounts to about 23% of the emotional fossil fuel we burn down here. But Fear, Fear is where it’s at. Did you know that Fear accounts for nearly 91% of our fuel expenditures down here?”

Me: “Those numbers don’t add─”

Lucifer: “Ninety. One. Percent. But the problem is our daily output has been dwindling and we’ve had to start tapping into our reserve tanks.”

Me: “What’s driving the shortages?”

Lucifer runs a hand through his perfect hair.

Lucifer: “See, that’s what we wanted to know. We ran countless studies, measured performance outputs, employed focus groups, and on and on. We even brought in an outside consultant group, which was a huge waste of money. All the studies came up empty. Nothing down here had changed, which led us to conclude that things up there had changed.”

He points toward the ceiling.

“The mortal world had changed. While we’d been preoccupied trying to find an internal fix, the whole mortal world was flying off the rails. Things up there were getting progressively worse and moving in the direction of a literal ‘hell on Earth’. Essentially, what was happening was that people’s mortal lives were so utterly miserable and they’d lived with so much fear, anxiety, and self-loathing, that by the time they got to us, they’d become desensitized to it. Our torments, which had been top of the line for centuries, had become a hum-drum daily norm for them. They lacked fear.”

Me: “That’s pretty messed up.”

Lucifer: “Right? We even had a few instances of souls coming from the mortal world ‘reverse-tormenting’ some of our employees.”

Me: “How does that work?”

Lucifer: “Mostly they just won’t shut up. They drone on and on about what a crap factory their old lives used to be and how they’re relieved to be out of their toxic relationships, dead-end jobs, and online feuds. We are starting to have a real employee morale issue down here, as you’ve pointed out.”

Me: “Well, that’s your answer then isn’t it?”

Lucifer: “What?”

Me: “It just makes sense that if the hell up there is worse than the hell down here, just make the hell down here replicate the hell up there?”

Lucifer sits with his mouth open exposing several rows of small, sharp yellow teeth.

Me: “I’ll level with you, I’ve been down here all day and I didn’t really find this place all that scary. Your tortures are pretty outdated. People are used to being whipped and beaten and dragged. That’s old-hat. You want to know what’s really terrifying? Getting out of bed in the morning. The prospect of going to the same job every day for decades until you retire…if you can ever retire. Being a prisoner to a mortgage payment. Children’s birthday parties. Thanksgiving.”

Lucifer rubs his ruddy chin and tilts his head.

Me: “You really want to torture somebody? Make them live their anxiety-ridden, regular life on a never-ending cycle.

Lucifer: “Interesting.”

Me: “But here’s the kicker, you have to give them a carrot. Dangle false hope in front of them. Like lottery tickets. Or a promotion that’s always just out of reach. Or a good idea for a novel.”

Lucifer: “You’re one sick bastard.”

I shrug.

Lucifer: “I like your idea. I hope you mind if I steal it. We’ll of course have to run some clinical trials first.”

He raises an eyebrow in a peculiar manner and a slight smile exposed his needle teeth once more. I didn’t particularly care whether he used my idea or not. Frankly, I just wanted to get out of there and end my bizarre day. But first I needed clarification on my story.

Me: “So to be clear, you don’t want me to write a positive piece about Hell Inc. At least not positive in the minds of mortals. Positive in your mind, maybe, which is inverse, so… awful. And I should relay, in my story, how my day here was filled with the most mind-numbing, dull, corporate bullshit imaginable.”

Lucifer removes a small notepad from the breast pocket of his jacket and scribbles something on the top page.

Lucifer: “Yes. Yes. Write whatever you’d like.” He mumbles and chuckles to himself. “Won’t matter much anyway.”

Me: “What?”

Lucifer: “Rick!” Come in here, please! We’re finished.”


Rick enters the shack and looks from me to Lucifer and back again, clearly surprised that I’m not a bloody heap on the floor or something. Lucifer stands from his rocking chair and rips the top page from his notepad. He hands it to Rick. Rick reads it while scratching nervously at a scaly spot on the back of his neck. He looks back to Lucifer, who nods reassurance.

“Is something the matter?” I ask.

Rick smiles. It’s a nervous smile.

“Not at all,” Lucifer says. “Just remembered an errand I need ol’ Ricky-boy to run for me as he’s showing you out.”

Rick herds me toward the door, his goat hooves clomping on the wood-planks.

We exit the shack, but instead of being back outside among the hordes of newly arrived, damned souls, I find myself back in the dentist-style waiting room where I’d began the day. Spatial-reality shifts like this no longer bother me and the piranhas look out with hungry eyes through the fish tank glass.

“I appreciate you showing me around today,” I say to Rick.

“No you don’t,” Rick says, dryly.

“No. No, I don’t suppose I do.” There’s an awkward silence and I look around the room in an effort to escape Rick’s weirdly intense stare. That’s when I noticed there is no longer an exit leading back to the street. “How do I get out of this place?”

“I have to show you a magic trick,” Rick says. The dead tone of his voice suggested this is some corporate gimmick clownery thought up by an out-of-touch middle manager (probably Weasel Mike) and now Rick is resigned to this performance-monkey bullshit every time the situation arises.

“A what?”

“A magic trick,” he nearly vomits the words.

“Alright,” I say. “Shoot.”

Rick pulls a quarter from… well… I don’t know where because he doesn’t wear pants. Maybe out of his arse, I guess. But he pulls out a quarter and with his left hand, he pretends to put it behind my ear and shows me an empty left hand. Then with his right hand, he reaches behind my other ear. When he pulls his hand back and has my full attention, he opens it quickly and with a mighty puff, blows red dust into my eyes.

“The hell, Rick!?!” I shout. It burns. I rub my eyes and to my surprise find myself sitting outside a small bodega in Queens opposite that insufferable prick, Wallace Ernst.

“But, our readers don’t subscribe for stuff like that,” Wallace is saying. “They’re looking for more topical news. Current events. Trendy stuff. Stuff they can feel outraged about before their morning dumps, but then dismiss before lunch.”

“So—dribble?” I say, reflexively.

He nods his head.

“Not dribble. But lighter stuff. More relatable stuff.”

The inside of my brain is screaming, trying to reconcile what is happening. Wallace leans across the table and beckons me in with his hairy, knuckled, chimp finger. I decline, again, and he goes on anyway, again. Of course, I know it all already, but some invisible force makes it impossible for me to deviate from the course of the conversation or do what I really want to do, which is bash Wallace’s head into the salt and pepper shakers.

“If you can make this piece sing,” he says with a wink, “there could be a promotion in it for you.”

A few tables over, I catch sight of a handsome waiter with perfect coiffed, chestnut hair who smiles with pin-shaped yellow teeth.

“That son-of-a-bitch,” I mutter.

“What’s that?” Wallace asks.

“What’s the company?” I sigh.

Wallace leans in farther, looks around for eavesdroppers, and beckons me in again. I acquiesce. His stale coffee breath feels ice cold on my ear and he slides an address across the table.

Wallace never asks anyone to lunch unless he has a crap assignment for them.

He orders the California Reuben. I order a steak.


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The History Of The Donut

The History Of The Donut

In honor of tomorrow being National Donut Day, I have written a short history of the donut. This is not the full history of the donut, obviously, but a few key moments in history that are worth noting:donut

1057 B.C. – A Greek naval commander named Dorotheos of Naxo set sail in search of a mythical island of great wealth. Half way through their journey, the crew of Dorotheos’s boat was lured into wreckage off the coast of a small island, by the incredible smell of baked goods. When Dorotheos and his remaining crew struggled ashore, they found the island inhabited by elderly women producing a previously unknown type of sweet roll. Dorotheos and his men immediately enslaved the women, as was the custom of the day. They repaired the ship and set sale for home with their newfound, culinary wealth. The island women fed the crew exclusively sweet rolls on their voyage, which eventually capsized the boat due to the excessive weight gain of the crew. The sweet rolls were dubbed “Donauts”, short for “Dorothothoes Nauts,” in memory of the lost crew (“Naut” being the Greek word for sailor).

1476: Following his death, the tyrannical ruler of Romania, Vlad The Impaler (or Vlad III Dracula) still lingered in the minds of its citizens.  Rumors and legends of his cruelty, and even supernatural abilities, haunted people for years to come. His thirst for blood lead to tales of vampirism. So much so that the citizens of Transylvania began placing pastries filled with blood red jelly on their window sills at night. Their hope being that by sucking out the jelly, the fearsome Dracula would satisfy his thirst and pass over their house. In 1897, Bram Stoker galvanized the legend of Vlad with the title role in his vampire novel “Dracula”, though the jelly filled donuts were largely left out of the story.

Early 1800’s: Dutch settlers in New York City (or New Amsterdam) brought with them their delicious sweet pastries that were deep fried in animal fat. At the time, these treats were known as “oily cakes”, which sounds disgusting. The name changed over the years to “grease muffins” (which wasn’t better), then to “sugar bagels”, then to “doughnut”, and finally to the original Greek “donut”.

1865: Wounded Civil War veteran, Abe VanDough returned home to New York City with one leg and a dream to open a bakery. After commandeering a vacant storefront, VanDough began churning out oily cakes and grease muffins based on his own family’s secret recipes. Finding it difficult to draw in customers, and impeded by a missing leg, VanDough took out a small loan to purchase a horse. With a custom harness, VanDough mountained a wooden dowel to the horse’s forehead. With oily cakes speared on the dowel, VanDough would ride about the city selling his pastries to people on the street. VanDough is credited with giving the donut it’s hole and his horse became known as “The Unicorn of Time Square” and is the reason why unicorns are often associated with sprinkles and glitter. VanDough is also credited with having the world’s first “food truck”.

I hope you’ve learned something here about my favorite food. Please go out and support your local donut shop tomorrow. There are thousands of donuts in need of a good home. Be a hero.

***Additional Fact: The donuts known as “bear claws” were originally made with actual bear feet, coated in pastry dough, and deep fried (essentially a chicken-fried bear foot). This tradition was discontinued in the early 1940’s when rations were put on the bear feet supply due to their need for the war effort.

Seven Remedies For “Dad Bod”

The Google Dictionary defines “Dad Bod” as: a male physique that 

Dadbodis relatively slim but not lean or toned. I prefer to think of it as “the melting of one’s former self, coupled with stress collection points around the abdomen, waist, and ass.” I would also like to be gender inclusive in that “dad bod” is not just for dads, but I would never in a million years tell a woman she has “mom bod” for fear of violent death. Anyway, the descension into “parent bod” can be a source of depression for many new parents, so this week I’m offering a few tips to help fight back against this terrible disease:

  1. Let Food Go To Waste – Children at the dinner table can be the most unreasonable people on Earth. If your children are anything like mine, there is a violent revolution every time mac and cheese isn’t on the menu. Most nights the standoff ends with good food left on the children’s plate. Myself, being a child of a child of a child of the Great Depression and also an unapologetic glutton, can not stand to see good food go to waste. So, often times I eat it. Don’t look at me like that. You know you’ve done it. Judgements and self loathing aside, these are unneeded extra calories and a direct contributor to dad fat. Don’t be afraid to throw away food. Or buy a dog. Dogs are good garbage disposals.   
  2. Designated Cook – Pick the worst cook in the house to be the designated dinner cook. In my house, that’s me. I’d say at least two of the dinners I prep each week are sub par. And that’s being generous. This means that at least two nights of the week, I’m consuming less calories. Not a bad start. (Note: This can backfire. If the cooking is so horrible as to be inedible, frequent pizza deliveries can occur.)
  3. Turn Your Children Into Workout Equipment – Being a parent, it can be hard to find time to squeeze in a workout. In fact, it’s next to impossible to have a designated work out time unless its before or after the children go to bed. One solution to this problem is to work out with your children. Let me clarify, I don’t mean that your children are doing the exercises, too. I mean, use your children as workout equipment. By sewing canvas handles onto the backs of your children’s T-shirts, you can turn each child into a dumbbell, kettlebell, etc. By making the child hold various objects, you can change the weight of your “kidbell” as needed throughout the workout. Kids love to be lifted up and swung around, so everyone wins. (*Note: If you are using your “kidbell” as a kettlebell, please ensure the ceiling is high enough to provide overhead clearance. Otherwise your “kidbell” will get all whiny.)
  4. Work Workouts – For many of us, our jobs consist of stagnant days staring at a monitor and doing keyboard cardio. This daily eight hours of inactivity can wreak havoc on our bodies, especially since we tend to consume high levels of junk foods at our desks to fill the gaping holes in our soul. One good trick to break up the daily monotony is to set a recurring alarm on your watch or phone and at regular intervals, get down on the floor and do a few reps of some sort of exercise. Not only will this help to burn midday calories, but it will reinforce with your coworkers that you may, in fact, be mentally unhinged and you should not be trifled with. If your boss catches you mid workout, you may want to learn some variation of a gang-sign to flash.
  5. Be The Office Jerk – The office setting is notorious for being an ever flowing spring of processed sugars and trans fats. It is always someones birthday, anniversary, National Donut Day, National Cookie Day, National Deep Fried Double Stuffed Oreo Day, etc. So next time Dave from accounting puts a box of donuts in the break-room, you march right down there, grab that box of donuts, and chuck it in the trash.* Sure, Dave will probably cry. It’s his birthday and he can cry if he wants to. But then he will be thanking you for helping improve his overall quality of life. When your boss comes to talk to you about all the complaints he’s getting, just put him in a headlock with the biceps you’ve built from curling your “kidbells”.
  6. Get Fired – Once you’ve choked out your boss, you no longer need to worry about going to work. Your newfound wealth of free time should provide you with plenty of time to work out and your lack of income will prevent you from overeating. Or eating at all.
  7. Stop Drinking Beer – Just kidding. That’s a silly one.  

It should be noted that despite all of these tips, I still suffer from Dad Bod. These are not intended to be a magical cure, but a resource to keep Dad Bod in check. There is no cure for Dad Bod. It is terminal. The only thing you can do is make the most of the Bod you have left.

*Please never throw away donuts.

**Move your eyes to the right. Find the “Follow” button. Click.

Timeline Of A Mental Breakdown

Some days the posts will be nothing more than a reason for you to say, “hey, I guess my day wasn’t that bad”…

6:59 am: Wake up children. Already nine minutes behind schedule. Daily struggle ensues.

7:28 am: Arrive to daycare to drop off Josie. Realize I forgot to pack snacks for Easton. Refuse to go all the way back home, so Easton gets to pick two snacks at the gas station (Father Of The Year Award). He cannot understand why the candy aisle is not a viable source of options.

7:42 am: Easton has been dropped off. It occurs to me that one of his snacks contains peanut butter, violating the schools nut-free classroom policy.  

7:55 am: Arrive to work, email Easton’s teacher explaining the severity of my peanut butter fail and apologizing for any nut related emergency health situations I may have caused.

8:00 am to 4:00pm: Work (I have to say that because my boss reads these articles).

4:30 pm: Pick up Easton. He complains of a stomach ache. He has also left his lunchbox in his classroom for the second day in a row. The room is locked. He shows little remorse.

4:30 am: Leaving Easton’s school parking lot. He suddenly remembers he has forgotten two stuffed animals on the table in After School Care. I stop the truck and ask him if these are the same stuffed animals I explicitly told him not to bring to school that morning. He says “yes”. He shows little remorse. I don’t think he knows what “explicitly” means yet. I now have to check his backpack every morning because my son is a smuggler. We retrieve the smuggled goods.

4:50 pm: Josie has been picked up. We arrive home. Easton continues to complain of a stomach ache. I’m suspicious it is a ploy to watch more TV. I give him a puke bowl anyway.

5:20 pm: Dinner time. Easton does not want to eat. This is unusual.

6:25 pm: Easton says he’s feeling better. We all go downstairs to play.

6:31 pm: Easton excuses himself to use the bathroom upstairs.

6:33 pm: Easton reappears covered in vomit and a bewildered look. We cautiously go upstairs. The kitchen is ground zero. The spray pattern would suggest he was playing “helicopter” when the incident occurred. The smell is unbearable.

6:40 pm to 7:20pm: Easton in the bathtub. I clean. Josie watches from a safe distance, asking questions about the process. Answering her questions forces me to breath. She laughs when I gag.

7:45 pm: Bedtime routine.

8:45 pm: Write blog post / Relive trauma.

9:25 pm: Post article to blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Spend remaining awake time refreshing WordPress app to see how many hits the site has received.

10:00 pm: Slip into unconsciousness while silently cursing those that haven’t followed the blog.


11:00 pm: Awoken by Easton. He has vomited all over his bed, rendering it unusable for the night. He sets up shop in our room. I clean for another 15 minutes.

12:10 am: More vomiting. This time he actually does it into the puke bowl. What a genius idea.

12:46 am: Not quite dry heaving. More like “damp-heaving” or a dusting of vomit.

12:50 am to 6:05am: Easton sleeps fitfully. He thrashes about like a sleeping dog. I think he’s dream about chasing squirrels.

6:06 am: Easton wakes up, says he feels fine. Wants eggs and toast. I keep the puke bucket handy.

Parenting: Foot Aches, Pee Breaks, And Other Nocturnal Aliments

In the nine months leading up to the birth of your first child, you undoubtedly heard a friend, family member, or coworker say something to the effect of, “say goodbye to sleep” or “better catch up on z’s now” or some other inane joke of the sort. I’ll admit, I’ve made these comments to friends as well. But I’m allowed too. I’ve been through, and currently reside in, the inferno of early child rearing. The bags under my eyes are proof of my qualification to regurgitate mindless idioms like a broken parrot because my brain is too exhausted to come up with anything even remotely original. What no one ever tells you in those pre-parent months, is “why” you’ll lose so much sleep. I mean, we all understand the first stretch. The infant phase. The nighttime feedings, the 2am diaper explosion extravaganza, the 3am for-no-reason nuclear meltdown, etc. But what about after that? You know, once you’ve bragged, “my kid is already sleeping through the night” and your already-parent-friends have a nice chuckle. Its because they know. They know that it never ends and you’re a fool. Here is a list of reasons that have dragged me from the depths of slumber at some ungodly hour in the past few months:

  1. The Bathroom Announcement: This move is the most common, but is typically only used once the child has mastered the door knob and can freely come and go from their room. This self-sufficiency should allow the child to take nighttime restroom trips with little disturbance. It does not. A child must always announce his/her activity, no matter how small. Or, as in recent cases, the child will inform you of “mission completion” before returning to bed. (Some children will pretend to be lost and unable to find their rooms. This is a stalling technique. They are NOT actually lost.)
  2. The Light Moved: Tricks of light can often cause worrisome thoughts in children, which will lead to crying, which will lead to you being awake. To be clear, the lighting does not actually change or move inside the room. It’s all a matter of imagination. An easy solution is to rid the room of any pixies, sprites, glow-trolls, and fire demons prior to saying goodnight. This should put your child’s mind at ease and buy you an extra half hour.
  3. Spider On The Other Side Of The Room: Another tactic a child might use, is claiming to have seen something impossible. A few weeks ago our daughter woke us with that pretend sobbing that kids do when they know they have a bullsh*t reason for being up. She claimed she saw a spider. I escorted her back to her room and asked her were she saw it. She pointed behind a chair on the other side of her room. For clarification, I asked if she saw the spider, in the dark, behind a solid object, from her bed on the other side of the room. She said “yes”. She’s a liar.
  4. General Inquiries: Sometimes children will wake you up when their weird little brains conjure up impossible scenarios or other tricky topics that demand immediate attention. “What would happen if the ocean were full of cheese balls?” “What should I do if the floor actually DOES turn to lava?” “Where do rainbows go when the sun comes out?” “What are fire demons?” Do not answer. Questions lead to questions lead to question. A midnight pandora’s box.
  5. Foot Aches: I say “foot aches” because this is the specific example I’m dealing with currently. This tactic could manifest in any recurring phantom body ache. A few weeks back, my son woke us up complaining that his feet hurt. When I asked him where, he pointed between his toes. Turning the light on, I examined his feet and found no evidence of any exterior issues to validate his claim. I told him to put on some socks and go back to bed. This was 12:15am. At 1:30am, he again entered our room. This time armed with that fake sobbing cry. Again, I escorted him to his room and tried to calm him down. He finally got back into bed and I told him to be brave and close his eyes. At 2:45am he entered our room again. This time we were both sobbing. Again he claimed his feet hurt. Desperate, I pulled some random, generic, nothing-special lotion from our hall closet.  I slathered it all over his feet, put his socks back on, and sent him back to bed. Never heard another peep. It’s happened on two other nights since then, but both times I’ve gone immediately to the placebo lotion and nipped the problem in the bud. I don’t want to count my chickens, but this may be my first real victory as a father.

This is only the small sample of examples I could dredge from my tired mind, but I know there are more. I’m sure as the years pass, these will transform into things like loud slumber parties and curfew breaking. If you have more examples you’d like to lend to the list, please follow the site on the right side of the screen and then leave your comments below.   

Parenting: How To Create A Mad Scientist

As a parent, we’re always told that it’s important to foster our children’s creativity and desire to learn. To encourage them to discover new things and to provide them with the means and the environment to do so. What you’re not told, as parents, is that like everything your child does, he or she will take these activities to extreme degrees that you cannot possibly sustain.

In my last post, I mentioned that my son has developed the notion that he will build a robot out of the materials pulled from our recycle bin. He has coupled this with a passion for “science experiments”, which as of late has simply been an excuse to dirty every piece of tupperware and mason jar we have in the house. I’ve boiled this experience down to what I call “The Seven ‘Lations’ Of Mad Science”:

  1. Titillation – In this stage, both the parent and child partake in the creative exercise. It is a pleasant experience for everyone involved. The child is learning and making memories. The parent experiences the joy of watching their child learn and grow. This is the only stage in “The Seven ‘Lations’ Of Mad Science” that involves a parent’s joy.
  2. Escalation – In this stage, the child begins pushing the boundaries of what is reasonable. The experiments become more elaborate, laborious, and messy. The child experiences joy as he brainstorms new and intricate ways to destroy your kitchen. The parent is forced to begin making excuses (often fabricated to avoid saying “I’m too tired”) to put off or gently put down the ideas.
  3.  Accumulation – The child begins, on his own, to collect items to be used in future science experiments (in my case a garbage robot). These items are often pulled from recycle bins, waste baskets, or simply found outside. This is a highly unsanitary stage and your home will become infested with ants. Your child will likely then wish to keep the ants for future science experiments.
  4. Overregulation – As a parent and reasonable human being, you are forced to set strict boundaries on the experiments your child is able to perform and the items he is able to retain for science. Expect resistance in this stage. Resistance can manifest itself in many forms. I, for example, have seen fits of rage, quiet brooding, feigned hearing impairments, and the always feared, insincere compliance in the form of “FINE”.
  5. Capitulation – In this stage the child’s resistance reaches critical mass. As a parent you begin questioning whether your overregulation is right. Are you holding back a great mind? Are you stifling growth? You concede that science experiments can be done, as long as they are “done outside” and robot parts must be kept “only in your room”.
  6. Isolation – Your child becomes increasingly withdrawn. His bedroom door is frequently closed. You can hear hammering at all hours of the night. When you listen at the door, you often hear maniacal laughter or the utterance of “potty language”. As a parent, you use this time to do the dishes or catch up on laundry.
  7. Annihilation – The garbage robot is complete. It becomes self aware and destroys your home. Even as you stare out at the smoldering ruins, you can’t help but feel proud of what your child created.

I forget where I was going with all of this, but take heed. You have been warned.

Don’t forget to click “Follow” on the right hand side of the screen. The Garbage Robot has been reprogrammed to track-down and terminate those who don’t.

Parenting: You’re Doing It Wrong… But So Is Everyone

I think any parent would agree that one of the hardest parts of being a parent (outside of stepping on LEGOs), is the often overwhelming fear that you’re doing everything completely and utterly wrong and, because of this, your children will grow up to be felons, arsonists, real estate moguls, or worse. We’re all terrified. Terrified we’re disciplining wrong, too frequently, or not enough at all.  Terrified we’re not spending enough time with our kids or that we’re not giving them enough freedom. Terrified that our ineptitude will have consequences that echo to the ends of time and result in the collapse of humanity as we know it. Sometimes all of these terrors occur in the span of ten minutes. But I have news for you. You have every right to be scared because you ARE doing it wrong. Not all the time of course, but sometimes. No one is perfect and we all slip up and that’s okay. We are lead to believe that it’s not though. Not okay to be wrong. Social media shows us only the best side of the lives of our friends and family. Pictures of perfect vacations, perfect holidays, perfect perfectness. They are undoubtedly only fragments in time, captured in the lull of their own daily hurricanes, but they are enough to make us feel inadequate. That if anyone knew the chaotic, “Lord Of The Flies” situations that arise in our own homes, we’d be ostracized by our communities, blacklisted from social gatherings, and stripped of all lands and titles. So instead of giving parenting advice or recommendations, I thought I’d give you a dose of “real”. A quick snapshot of “the struggle” to brighten your day or maybe just remind you that you’re not alone in this mess. Please don’t judge me too harshly or call CPS.

The other night, after arriving home from work and school with both kids (ages 5 and 3), I began the nightly routine of making dinner. Work meetings were keeping Carlye late, which meant I was making my specialty, and the house favorite, boxed macaroni and cheese. As I prepared dinner, both children were out playing in the living room (it should be mentioned here that both children had already tried my patience by arguing the whole way home, so tensions were moderate to high). Halfway into the boil, Josie (3) wandered in and asked if she could help make dinner. I agreed, but informed her there was not much left to do. She proceeded to move one of our large stools from the island to the stove area, as is her custom. Once the heavy moving was complete, Easton (5) conveniently appeared, proclaiming he too would be helping to prepare dinner. I again, reminded them there was little left to do. Undeterred, Easton climbed onto the one-person stool with Josie, where they both began fighting immediately for valuable real estate. After minutes of this, I became frustrated and told them that since they couldn’t get along they’d have to leave the kitchen. Easton dug in his heels, as is his custom. I demanded he leave and find something else to do. In his fury, he grabbed a cardboard box off the counter, one that he’d been saving to build his “robot” (this is another story entirely), and whipped it to the floor. I demanded that he pick it up. He declined. I picked up the box and, fully knowing its value to him and his robot endeavor, proceeded to tear it to shreds. Not my finest moment. My act of retribution was met by one of the most hideous banshee shrieks I’ve ever heard my son produce. And then another. And then Josie began to wail. And Easton wailed more. And I spoke at them in ever increasing volumes, sending Easton to his room, which Josie interpreted as her punishment as well.  And, as these two sobbing creatures crawled in anguish up our staircase, they somehow managed to start, between hearty sobs, a chant in perfect unison: MEAN DAD, MEAN DAD, MEAN DAD!!!

And there you have it. The story of the one time I was able to get my children to cooperate and work together. Now don’t forget to click the “follow” button on the side of this site. I’ve got all kinds of personal stories to make you feel better about yourself.

Scenes I’d Like To See In Avengers: Endgame

With “Avengers: Endgame” coming out next weekend, I thought it appropriate to address some of the scenes I hope to see in the film:

  1. A mid-movie, Westside Story musical number starring Thanos, in which he inadvertently decimates another 90% of the universe’s population.
  2. An opening scene where a depressed Steve Rodgers eats soggy Cheerios from his Captain America shield, which he now uses as a bowl.
  3. Tony Stark survives his stint in space and returns to Earth, but refuses to help the other Avengers defeat Thanos until Hawkeye gets a haircut.
  4. A scene where Hawkeye admits that he only cut his hair into that weird mohawk because “Captain Marvel wears it like that sometimes.”
  5. The Guardian’s Of The Galaxy re-materialize from their “snapped” status, but are now all genetically intermixed. Groot returns with an eloquent and extensive vocabulary, while the rest of the crew can only say “I am (fill in blank)” in different inflections. All members are now voiced by Vin Diesel.
  6. Bruce Banner is finally able to coax out the Hulk, only to find that Hulk has taken a passionate interest in musical theater, which leads into the Westside Story dance number.
  7. It is revealed there is a seventh Infinity Stone known as the Troll Stone. This stone has no real power of its own, but instead saps the power of the other Infinity Stones, and gives it wielder nothing more than an undeserved sense of self satisfaction.
  8. A scene where Jeff Goldblum reprises his role from “Thor: Ragnarok” in any capacity, only to be eaten by Carol Danvers’s cat.
  9. Thor complains about how scratchy his new prosthetic eye is throughout the entire movie, only to have it stolen back by Rocket Raccoon, and re-gifted to a re-materialized Nick Fury at the end.
  10. In the post credits scene, Dr. Strange has a moment of weakness and uses the Time Stone to exact revenge on a grade-school bully who turns out to be Victor Von Doom, setting up the next chapter in the Marvel franchise.

Sorry, I guess I should have said “Spoiler Alert” at the beginning. I apologize if I’ve ruined any surprises for anyone.

Please leave comments on the post of any scenes you hope to see in the new “Avengers: Endgame.” Also, don’t forget to click “Follow” on the right side of the page and subscribe to this blog! Its FREE!!!  Which means its cost is right on par with its value.

The Return Of The Pig

Hello Readers,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I apologize. Hogwash Writing has been quiet for quite some time, but I’m changing that now. As some of you know, I’ve been devoting my limited free writing time to, first, finishing my first novel and, second, try to find agents and publishers who’d like to read said book. Now that the book is finished and I’m well into my search for readership, I’ve realized that the neglect of this site was foolish. More than foolish. An abhorrent sin in the world of writing. A sin which I will now aim to remedy.

Starting next week, I plan to post on a regular basis. I’ll admit the motivations is purely selfish. Buy cultivating a readership here, it will eventually help me to spread the word of my book. Did I mention I wrote a book? I’ve been told its a good book. It’s at least not inherently awful. It won’t make you gouge your eyes out anyway, if that’s what you’re wondering. So that’s a plus.

That being said, the content here might be slightly different then before. I’m hoping it might be more interest/informational than my old posts of twisted history and clearly fabricated quotes of long dead presidents (I’ve been told these weren’t applicable in daily life). What you’ll see going forward will be a mixed bag. One week might be parenting advice, one might be a book review, one might be instructions on how to build a robot from old cardboard boxes for your six year old. You won’t know until it hits your inbox. Whatever it ends up being, I hope it’s fun to read. If its not, tell me. Comment on the blog. Email me. Show up at my house with pitchforks and torches. Mug me as I go into work to get reimbursement for wasting your precious time. If it is entertaining, please share. Like Hogwash disciples, go forth and spread the word, so that the whole world may know ridiculousness. The goal of any blog is readership, but an author cannot survive on his own posts alone.

There. I’ve put this commitment in writing. A verbal contract to anyone who cares to read it. I look forward to entertaining, perplexing, and enraging you.

Thank you,