Willy Wanker and the Keto Bread Factory

As Wilford Brimley would say, I have DIE A BEE TUSS. And when you have DIE A BEE TUSS, you can’t eat anything that tastes good. No sweets, no pasta, no rice, no bread, no potatoes, no soda, no ice cream, no candy, no pizza, no hamburgers, no CEREAL!… And the list seems to go on and on toward the end of the universe.

When you have DIE A BEE TUSS, the best kind of diet is low-carb, high protein – just like Dr. Now tells his overweight patients on 600-Pound Life. “Hello. How you all doing? Where you coming from today?”

Eating right has been a struggle for me throughout my nearly 15-year battle with this disease. Is it really a disease, or just poor lifestyle choices? Either way, it sucks not being able to eat whatever you want without suffering deadly consequences.

I love sweets. I love desserts. I love all the things I’m not supposed to have. When I flip through a cookbook for diabetics, I’m just grossed out. Ugh! And it’s especially tough going into a grocery store to buy food. It seems nearly EVERYTHING is bad for you and the stuff that is good for you costs three times as much.

Well, today, I went into our crappy local grocery store with a focus on looking for diabetic-friendly foods. I read a lot of labels, and I think I made some good choices. But sometimes those good choices are not good at all.

If you look at the picture that accompanies this post, you will see a piece of bread with a giant hole in it. That’s from a loaf of keto-friendly bread that cost almost 6 damn dollars. When I first opened the package, I was like: “What the fuck?” It wasn’t just one or two pieces that had this ginormous hole in them, but literally half the entire loaf and then some.

I sent the picture to my wife who was at work, and I told her that this must be the way they reduce the carbs. Is it? Surely not. Did the guy who baked this particular batch have a bread fetish and stick something weird in that loaf that I don’t want to know about? Gross.

But I was so damn hungry, I made myself a summer sausage sandwich. Sausage is fine. No carbs.

Just so you know, keto-friendly bread pretty much sucks… and it’s expensive. This particular bread I ate had ZERO flavor. It was sort of dry, too, and it kind of smelled like wood paneling from the 1970s. Oh, and the giant hole. That, too. So, what will I do with it? I suppose since I paid so much for it, I’ll just suck it up and try to get through the loaf with the help of family members and a jar of peanut butter… Or maybe I can turn the pieces into some sort of sexually frustrated finger puppets. Yeah. Sexually frustrated finger puppets with DIE A BEE TUSS and they complain about keto-friendly bread all day in their weird little village where the government frowns upon any sort of joy.

Thanks for reading about my problems with DIE A BEE TUSS.


A Cemetery Scrawl, Like Litter in the Wind


Zombie in sweatpants jogging in the ghetto
arms stuck out lean and mean
cold soles slapping the greasy street
and my little girl thought she had just escaped
from the cylinder, the bilingual,
the catastrophic farm of listless stones
the graveyard
a cold and misty day
cold and teary and smelling of sludge
who was to judge
the importance of the non-potable headache
swimming in my tender sockets
man, I am a rambling’
like some loose-geared jalopy on the old road,
but I found a letter to the dead
full of things left untold

I and my two cases of flesh and blood
we stormed the dam
doodled in the cool, green waters of some lake that is really a pond,
but in an area where water is practically non-existent
even a pinprick of piss is considered a lake,
but we clambered the slick geometrical stone
the water skimming off the surface
flushed through the portals
and we shook on our balances
feeling the fluttery wings in our bellies
as we did ballet on the precipice of the sun in our eyes
clutching hands
skipping stones
hopping logs
and life was a memory of ice cream
dripping down sticky baby faces
and now they were being brave and curious
and interested in the lives of the dead


We climbed a hill
shagged it rotten
like cotton candy
between the legs of an angel
and at the top of the hill
we found a flat, gravely place
I wanted to name the place Ashley
because it looked burnt and turned over
and all that remained was the ashes of destruction
and great piles of tumbled trees
and mountains of unraveled gravel
and off behind us was a fence
a chain-link fence topped with rusting barbed wire
and beyond the fence
acres of dead —
it was a cemetery
and the fence encircling it
was cluttered with the debris
of loved ones’ tokens,
tokens of love
tokens of regret
plastic and paper flowers
rolling in the wind
candied tumbleweeds smashed against the wire
and in this lot called Ashley
I found a letter
in a plastic bag
and the words were intact
and all a hush fell about my brood
as I began to read to them
this letter to the dead


It was a mom speaking to a daughter
and from the letter I gathered
the daughter’s life had come to an end
in a most tragic way
suicide it seemed
perhaps gunfire
or violence extreme
and in the letter
the mother was very weepy
very weepy and full of regrets
regrets, weeping and wondering why
why? why? why? dear daughter
why did you have to die
so, I felt kind of bad
that this piece of weepy sad writing
was like litter in an open field
and my youngest slice of flesh and blood
my youngest elixir of greed and breed
wanted to comb the graveyard
to find the stone
of the girl in the letter
but there was only a first name —
SHARON
and how could I find one Sharon in a field of thousands of dead
and so, I simply put the letter
still encased in its plastic
over the edge of the fence
believing the wind would carry it back,
back to the place it belongs
and we felt better for that
and we carried on with our journey
watching the jogging zombie sweat through her velour
and the world smelled dirty
and the sky was gray
and Sharon was free
and so were we


The Rascals of House Hunters

My wife and I love watching House Hunters, especially the international version of the show. It’s been a thing for us for a long, long time. We love to yell at the people for making stupid choices.

Now, we know a lot of the show is fake and from what I read the people have already made the choice of what house they want even before they are filmed “house hunting.” I also read that sometimes the show utilizes younger actors to play the buyers who in reality may be old, ugly, and boring. Something like that. But even with all that in mind, it really grinds my gears when I see people who make a living as “social media trendsetters” or “lifestyle enthusiasts” or “product ambassadors for an international marketing start up” or “nomadic online fashion consultants” and they have a budget of like 2 million dollars and I’m just like “WTF!”

Just once, I’d like to see a guy who vacuums for a living and makes 13 bucks an hour trying to buy a house. Now that’s putting reality in Reality TV.

My wife understandably gets frustrated with my House Hunters frustration. I just can’t help it, though. I’m an edgy individual. Take last night for example. The buyers were two guys — 23 and 24 years old, respectively, who were friends and business partners — who earn a living by making YouTube videos about video games or something like that. It was never made totally clear. But nonetheless, they supposedly have 2 million subscribers to whatever they do and in turn must make a shitload of money because they were looking at houses priced around $1.3 million. I just sit there and shake my head and I truly don’t understand it. How!?

Am I envious? Yes! Am I bitter? Yes! Why? Because (with the exception of the last two years of my semi-retirement and “working” as a struggling writer) I have worked my ass off my entire life at jobs that were killing me emotionally… And for what? I never got ahead. I never got noticed. I barely squeaked by. And in the end, I got kicked to the curb like a bag of trash because of some corporate algorithm. I bang my head against the wall and holler to the heavens, “What am I doing wrong! I just want to live, not suffer to live!”

It seems so damn easy for so many others and some days I struggle just to get up, make coffee, and do the laundry. Sigh.

But then I look over at the corner of my desk and I see a pile of notes from my wife. She leaves me a love note on my desk every morning before she leaves for work. Even if I have been an ass. I’m usually still sleeping. But reading her note is pretty much the first thing I do in the morning. They are a daily reminder of all that we have, together, in this life. She’s my Reality TV.

I know I bitch and moan about life plenty, but she is always reminding me of what truly matters. And when I stop and really think about it, instead of getting caught up in the charade of societal guidelines, it doesn’t matter I don’t have 2 million followers or a million-dollar house. I have our simple sweet life together, and though it’s not always easy and often fraught with worry, fear, problems, and so on. The love we have is the richest in the world.

Well, that ended completely different than I thought it would. But she’s good at getting me to turn things around when I need it most.


If you would like to help me become a successful know it all featured on House Hunters someday, please sign up below to follow this blog. Thanks for reading.

Hello, here are some vacation photos from my honeymoon. (Not those kind of photos)

Author’s Note: You might recall me recently posting a story about how Joe Pera Talks With You is my favorite new TV show and how in it I go on and on about how my wife and I spent part of our honeymoon up in Marquette, Mich. I wanted to add some pictures in that post but it turned out they were on my Mac laptop and not on my HP desktop so I had to go dig them up and transfer them over so I could make good on my promise. Anyways, what follows is my first attempt at a photo-centric post… If I can figure it out. Thanks for looking.

In and around Marquette, Mich.

Click on the photos to see them larger against a black background.

About ore docks

I don’t think I ever saw an iron ore dock until I was in Marquette. They are huge… Things. I don’t even really know how to describe them. They sort of look like elevated piers in a way but much wider, and they are kind of creepy and imposing. I don’t entirely understand how they work, but from the reading I have done it seems they are used to fill ships (that pull up, or I guess float up, to the sides of the dock) with iron ore by means of a series of chutes that flip down. The ore is brought to the dock via railcars that ride along tracks at the top of the dock. If anyone knows more about iron ore docks and how they work, please leave a comment. Thanks for reading.


Hello, today I would like to talk to you about my favorite new television show

Adult Swim photo

Hello, like the title indicates, today I would like to talk to you about my favorite new television show. But before I tell you what it is, I just read that after three seasons, it’s been canceled. I am pissed!! Why oh why do they always cancel the good stuff and keep the crap going for like 17 seasons. It’s just like that show on Amazon Prime called Night Sky. You know, the one with Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons and they discovered the portal to another planet in their backyard. It was great. The story was great. The characters were great, and the finale of the first season was totally primed and pumped for a second season… oh, but no. They fucking cancel it – probably to make way for a show about a bunch of annoying surgically altered social media trendsetters who have drunken orgies on a tropical island followed by over dramatic talk sessions concerning their all-important feelings about shallow relationships. I commence puking.

The name of my favorite new television show that is now being canceled is Joe Pera Talks With You. It’s an Adult Swim product but I watch it on HBO Max because for some reason they have more of the episodes. Go figure. The more I watch the show the better it gets. It evolves perfectly and the addition of familiar, quirky characters throughout makes it fun to watch.

Joe Pera is essentially a nerdy, socially awkward, slow and soft-spoken middle school choir teacher (who can’t really sing for some weird reason) who talks about mundane, everyday topics but somehow makes them interesting in a strangely captivating way. In the first episode I watched, he talked about the importance of iron and other minerals found in the Upper Peninsula region of Michigan. And that’s another reason I love the show – it takes place in Marquette.

“So,” you may say. Well, I say that Marquette is a pretty special place for me because my wife and I spent part of our honeymoon in the UP and we loved it. If you don’t know anything about Marquette, Michigan, it’s way, way up there, situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior. It’s a great little town (Marquette is actually the largest city in the UP, population of about 20,000) and I get really excited when they show places I recognize and have been to.

Let’s enjoy this gallery of photos from our trip:

Ahhh shit! The pictures are on my Mac so I will have to come back to that. Sorry.

But back to the show. I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but you can kind of get a feel for what the show is about just by some of the titles of the episodes. Here’s a few I found in my research:

Joe Pera talks with you about beans

Joe Pera takes you to the grocery store

Joe Pera shows you his second fridge

Joe Pera takes you to breakfast

Joe Pera shows you how to pack a lunch

I’m still only in the first season, but my favorite episode so far is Joe Pera reads you the church announcements. It basically starts off with Joe at church (Catholic church) and he is tasked with going up to the front and reading the announcements. Well, a short while into it he goes off on this little rant about The Who and his favorite “new” song – Baba O’Riley (You know, the teenage wasteland song). It then flashes back to Joe doing dishes and the first time he hears the song on the radio. How has he not ever heard that song!? That’s funny. After that, he keeps requesting the song because he loves it so much and essentially doesn’t sleep for three days because all he’s doing is jamming out to Baba O’Riley, even with the pizza delivery guy and his sorta girlfriend who’s the school band director. It’s great stuff and prompted me to order (on CD, like Joe, so he can play it in his 2001 Buick, but I don’t have a Buick I have a Mazda 3) The Who’s 1971 classic Who’s Next. I actually had my wife order it because she has Amazon Prime and so I basically utilized the love of my life for free and fast shipping. I have a Who CD, but it’s wrapped up in the basement somewhere like a mummy and I don’t want to be bothered looking for it.

The timing of me watching that particular episode couldn’t be more perfect since I had just finished up my serial fiction piece Child of the Cabbage and made mention of Baba O’Riley in the final episode which you can read HERE if you want. (Shameless plug, I know).

So, yeah, even though I haven’t watched all the episodes, I’m pretty bummed the show has been canceled. But isn’t that life, though. The idiots make all the important decisions. It’s frustrating and heart breaking to say the least. Anyways, give yourself a little treat and check out Joe Pera Talks With You. It’s a nice break from the oftentimes shitty world we live in… And in the meantime, let me see if I can find those vacation photos from our honeymoon in Marquette. I know you’re excited about that.


Hairy Pancakes and a Bad Honeymoon

It was a warm morning in late July when I woke up alone on the wrong side of the world. The bathroom mirror greeted me with a reflection of disorientation, mussed hair, and puffy eyes. I tried to shake myself awake, for this morning I was to meet my bride and have breakfast at the downtown café we frequent for our marriage meetings. I had my notes prepared. I was going to lay it on the line. Little did I know what was to come.

I rode the curving roadways for miles. The wind struck like a moist dryer drying towels. The engine hummed like a good motor should. I thought about Detroit. I thought about Japan. I pretty much decided in my own head that I was going to go for the pancakes. With sliced banana. With sweet maple syrup. And a good cup of coffee. My spirits were slightly elevated. I thought about my love. She was waiting there in her car, pulled up to the curb, diagonally. I forgot to bring the bandage like she had asked. My memory is slipping like an old lady on wet winter ice. Damn it. I should have written it down.

We met up. Did the ritualistic kiss thing. I may have palmed her butt a little. It’s okay. I’m allowed. We went in and ordered. I laid out my plan to the clerkie. She took it all down, I guess. We found ourselves a table. A tall college kid came in and said he knew us. He joined us at the table, and we all waited for food. The clerkie brought us silverware wrapped in napkins, but I was missing a fork. I cried out something like, “How am I supposed to eat pancakes without a fork!” The whole place got silent. People were stunned I suppose. My wife and the college kid were embarrassed. Reminded me of when I was in the Kroger the other day and some guy suddenly blurted out to his kids: “Stop fucking around!” And the whole world was in silence and shock because he really did say the F word really loud, right there in the meat department. I thought to myself: What an asshole. Yeah, that really happened.

Anyways… The pancakes came and I was eating them, and they weren’t as good as they usually were, and I was bummed about that and then I found a hair — cooked into the pancake. Yep. My wife was like “Eww.” She said I should take them back, but I was too embarrassed and figured if they were going to give me a fresh plate, they would probably stuff the pancakes down their pants and jiggle around a bit before slapping them on the plate. You know, like in that movie. I just took the loss because I have serious trust issues. My wife let me buy a cinnamon roll. My woman is good about that. Caring and such. She was very sorry that happened. Now we’re going to take a nap together and that’s pretty good stuff.

Earlier we had talked about the Memphis woman who was killed in Fiji on her honeymoon, allegedly by her husband. Um… On your honeymoon? You kill your wife on your honeymoon? Damn. Talk about a bad time. I guess getting a hair cooked into my pancakes isn’t so bad after all.   


Bowie’s Buddha Waffle

I was lying in my bed looking at the white ceiling and listening to the sounds coming from the box fans we have in our room. Neither myself nor my wife can sleep without the sound of the fans. It’s been like that for a very, very long time. Dead silence is the devil. I looked over at her asleep on her side. Her hair falling so perfectly across her back. I couldn’t believe she was my wife, in my life, but there she was. Still there beside me becoming more precious to my existence every single day…

Anyways, I had just come out of a crazy dream, and like I said, I was staring at the ceiling and thinking about a documentary I watched the night before on the television. It was a documentary about the last five years of David Bowie’s life, released in 2017. The name of it being David Bowie: The Last Five Years. Well, there you go.

Now, I’ve never been an overly huge David Bowie fan or even cared for some of his music so I’m not even sure why I queued the show up in my line of saves on HBO Max. I guess I was intrigued because it was about the last years of his life which may not be something everyone always considers when an artist such as himself has such a long and storied career. People tend to look back at the energetic youthful years, the bubbling to the top years — not the settling down into yourself years. Maybe I wanted to get a glimpse of what aging had been like for him and his artistic process. Maybe I wanted to watch it in an attempt to prepare me and teach me how to still be cool when you’re in your mid-60s. (Not there yet, by the way). And despite a cancer battle, Bowie was still actively creative to the end. I hope I can be actively creative to the end. I don’t want to wastefully linger.

One of the things that kind of stood out for me in the documentary was a song from 2013 called Valentine’s Day — a dark message about mass murder and the need for gun control. I found it to be emotional and moving and sadly appropriate nearly ten years later… Considering what happened at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas in May, and continues to happen in a country that values its guns more than its children, its very own future. It can be a harsh world and Bowie knew it, felt it, and often conveyed it through his music. You can watch the video HERE.

I have a Bowie greatest hits CD (a round, shiny disc about the size of a sandwich that contains digital pieces of music that you slide into a slot or plop onto a tray to initiate playback) somewhere, but after watching the documentary last night, I am really wanting to buy one of his later in life releases — The Next Day from 2013 or Blackstar, released three years later on his birthday, two days before he died on January 10th, 2016. Both albums were heavily featured in the documentary, and for me, contained some intriguing music that I’d like to delve deeper into.

Like I said, I was never a huge Bowie fan or an expert on his career, but the documentary reminded me that I had included something about him in a yet unreleased short story I had written a few years ago. I may need to dig it out, blow off the dust, and add some polish.

This is what I wrote in a story titled The Chinese Guy and the Angels of Uranus. I know, I write weird stuff, but Bowie liked weird.

Here’s the bit:


Janice Ho worked at a big commercial real estate office in the central district. I looked up at the tall building of blue glass. It seemed to go on forever. It was a giant with cold clouds for hands. I went in through the heavy doors and found the elevators. I went up — floor number 22 it was. It seemed like a long ride. There was a lady in there with me. She was all dressed up and she smelled good — like one of those uptight stores in the mall. I could tell I made her nervous. She wouldn’t look at me. She wouldn’t talk to me. I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Did you hear that David Bowie died?” I finally said.

She turned to look at me. “Who died?”

“David Bowie.”

“I’m afraid I don’t know him.”

Her stupid cell phone rang, and she turned away to talk on it. Blah, blah, blah. The doors slid open at 22 and I stepped out.


Yeah, I know. Not a grand cameo, but still, he got a mention, and I’m glad I remembered it and was able to include it. I think he’d appreciate it, with a laugh, welcome it even, maybe. He had a disdain for fame. And here’s something that I just learned — so, it appears Bowie’s eyes are two different colors, but in fact, his pupils are two different sizes — a unique trait for a unique person. He was a complex, eccentric, and intriguing guy with a head full of all kinds of peculiar, strange, and brilliant thoughts and ideas. The world is a better place because of him and his mind and art.

And even though his influence will reverberate forever, that was then, and this is now, and I’m at my desk drinking coffee and madly typing, and Bowie’s in the afterlife, floating and dreaming on a Buddha waffle somewhere near the moon, and he’s looking down, and admiring all the good, weird things that he left behind.


FOLLOW CEREAL AFTER SEX VIA EMAIL