My Five Favorite Rock & Roll Songs

1. The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter

I am curious what other people would pick as the greatest Rock & Roll song ever. My pick is this masterpiece from the album Let It Bleed by the Rolling Stones. The 60s were coming to an end, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated, the Vietnam War was at its bloody worst with the Tet Offensive, race riots erupted in every major American city, and Nixon was elected President as the “law and order” savior (sound familiar?). The world was upside down, violently out of control, and the hippie dream of peace and love had proven to be a bad LSD trip, brought crashing back to earth by the vicious and brutal reality of real life.

And here were the Rolling Stones to chronicle that dark, ugly mood with this absolutley beautiful, blusey, kick-ass anthem, highlighted by Merry Clayton’s high-octane wailing as she pleads to the Almighty to give her shelter from all the rape and murder and war. To me, it’s simply the most brilliant and poignant piece of Rock & Roll ever recorded, so topical for that time and yet so timeless too, the quintessential work of a band on top of its game like no other, then or now.


2. U2 – Bad

Another great Rock & Roll song, my #2 favorite song, in fact. I was at this show at the Hippodrome in Paris on July 4, 1987; my German girlfriend, Tanya, scored two tickets to cheer me up after the USS Stark Incident tore a massive hole in my soul. The funniest part was we drove to it in my 1980 Pontiac Firebird and all the Frenchies in the parking area freaked out over this exotic (to them) American car. This was always one of my favorite U2 tunes and on that night it became something transcendent and healing for my blackened soul, as for the first time in weeks I could clear my mind of all the dead sailors from the Stark who had been haunting me. When Tanya saw me crying during this song, she asked if I was OK, and I told her, yes, as a matter of fact I feel alive again. I think that’s what I said in my bad German. 

When Bono sang the following words:

If you twist and turn away
If you tear yourself in two again
If I could, you know I would
If I could, I would
Let it go
Surrender
Dislocate

Let it go! I had to let it go! OK, maybe the hashish I smoked was screwing with my head, but those words struck me to the very core of what was haunting me, and I let it go; it was the first time in weeks I wasn’t crippled by anxiety and grief. I grabbed Tanya and held her tight. And I was better, maybe never whole again, but better. I wrote all this down in my journal, which I still have. Great band, perfect song.


3. Foo Fighters – Everlong

I am not a huge Foo Fighters fan, but I am a huge fan of this song, #3 on my list of my favorite Rock & Roll songs. Firstly it’s beautifully melodic, then there’s that buzzsaw guitar like a great Husker Du song, moreover Dave Grohl sings his ass off, all to a fantastic, almost wildly frenetic beat as if Keith Moon rose from the dead to play this track; as much as I loved Nirvana, this was better by far than any single Nirvana song if only because it’s both cuddley romantic and fun as well as it frickin’ ROCKS. The recording is crystal clear and as sonically excellent as any rock song ever laid down in a storage media. I cannot tell you how many 68-mile loops I drove around Lake Tahoe in 2000 while blasting this song, over and over, in my rented Mustang, top down, doobie blazing, all the while screaming along with Grohl. It’s just a goddamn great song for living life in the moment. There’s probably still an APD posted by both the California and Nevada cops looking for me. Screw them, you only live once, bitchez. You all know I’m insane, right?


4. The Doors – LA Woman

My #4 fave in STEREO: This is the Doors about five minutes before Morrison drugged and boozed his way into the Great Beyond, with a real bass guitarist in the mix, the sound of one of the greatest, most innovative Rock & Roll bands proving, without a doubt, just how goddamn great this band really was, and here’s that proof, nearly eight minutes of a Mr. Mojo Risin’ like no other, break out the wine and smoke, build a huge bonfire, bring on the bikini-clad girls, and get your hippie dance on, brother, this is the bona fide shit, what Rock & Roll was meant to be in 4/4 time, and holy crap Robbie Krieger was a great guitarist. At the 6:05 mark the song blasts into another galaxy far, far away from ours, and hell yeah for taking us there. Dude, really, Morrison partied like a pig and left a bloated 27-year-old corpse, but he was the real deal, a Rock & Roll genius of nearly peerless, insane brilliance. Just LISTEN. Bach, Mozart, Miles Davis or Cole Porter will not hook you up with that foxy chick in the red bikini quite like this, brother.


5. The Smiths – Well I Wonder

First of all, Meat is Murder is a superb record and certainly the most underrated one in the band’s catalogue, with a brilliant mélange of pop styles both old and new from 50s Rockabilly to Punk and Post-Punk and everything in-between, especially on this track where the lads from Manchester evoke 60s-era Roy Orbison but with the kind of literate and poignant lyrical beauty that that old pill-popping hillbilly would have never been able to pull off simply because he wasn’t smart enough.

Gasping, but somehow still alive
This is the fierce last stand of all I am

Morrissey stifles his usual snotty, haughty, and smart-aleck tendencies on this song and plays it straight, with heartfelt and genuine emotional depth and feeling, and for once you can clearly look behind his mask to see the real pain and anguish that tormented our favorite celibate vegetarian pop singer. Unrequited love, holy shit what a painful and soul-sucking experience for anyone, especially for such a sensitive and neurotic soul like our boy Stephen, and luckily we get to experience his abject melancholy through this beautifully haunting track. Meanwhile the band gently leads us through Morrissey’s anguish and torment with sublime sonic perfection, careful not to overwhelm the ambiance but to make it soar nonetheless by its sheer, breathless excellence. This is a great song by one of the best bands in the long history of Rock & Roll.

Alternatives to Watching the 2016 Summer Olympics

Fuck if I know how this sport works.

Fuck if I know how this sport works.

Three exciting alternatives to watching the (McDonald’sCocaColaAT&TSubaruMicrosoft) Olympics:

1. Booger sculpture. Last night I made a cute panda with my boogers. Or was it a raccoon? LOL, the fun never ends!

2. Watching the Bangladesh Junior Cricket League on ESPNAsia. My goodness, the excitement never ends with this fascinating and rather confusing sport. And the names of the players, such tongue twisters! Dust that wicket, Jagadish Chowdhury, you rock, bro!

3. Learning to bake bread in my kitchen. OK, really, I texted GrubHub and ordered a Philly cheesesteak delivered from Geno’s as I binge watched Limitless on NetFlix, but just the thought of baking bread made me smile.

As the orange-haired guy says, many people are saying some reality show on the History Channel about a family of midgets braving the cold in the Alaskan back country is getting higher ratings than the Olympics. But what do I know? I’m too busy making a booger ashtray right now. Merry Christmas for someone special!

Matshit Crazy

New phrase to add to your encyclopedias:

matshit crazy

Unlike batshit crazy, which denotes irrational and delusional thinking, matshit crazy means one’s facts, logic, and reasoning are sound and thus one is correct in what one is saying, but most people don’t care because one is such an arrogant and condescending prick while being so damn right all the time in every argument.

Named for the absolute best at this type of thinking, Mat Scheck, me, yours truly. 😜

“Sure, there’s no way I can refute that you’ve just destroyed my batshit crazy theory by being so factual and reasonable, but then you got all matshit crazy on me by being so smug about it, you dick.”

What Side I’m Not On

HeroWhy Ann Coulter is the most vile human being—if, in fact, she is a human being—in America. She had the gall–she, someone who has never in her life served anyone but her own skeevy and creepy ambitions–to insult the father of this American hero and brother soldier who gave his life for this country.

Ann Coulter caused an outcry on Thursday, July 28, after she tweeted an insulting message about Khizr Khan, the father of Muslim U.S. war hero Captain Humayun Khan, as he spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

“Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son the best of America,” Khan said, attacking Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. “If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges and even his own party leadership. Donald Trump loves to build walls and ban us from this country.”

Coulter took Khan’s speech as a cue to add her two cents to the conversation. The controversial 54-year-old commentator didn’t waste any time composing a series of tweets insulting Hillary Clinton, Khan and Muslims as Khan continued his moving speech about his son, who died while saving 10 of his fellow soldiers in Iraq in 2004.

“You know what this convention really needed?” she wrote Thursday night in the middle of Khan’s speech. “An angry Muslim with a thick accent like Fareed Zacaria.”

The man Coulter was attempting to reference is respected Indian-American journalist Fareed Zakaria (Coulter misspelled his name), who holds positions at CNN, The Washington Post and The Atlantic.

It’s not enough to these psychopathic white supremacists that we who defend this country give our lives in defense of this country, no, that’s not good enough for them, even if most of them, like this vile shitbag Coulter, wouldn’t go near a military recruiting office themselves if they were dragged to it; this country apparently only belongs to THEM, these white-bread pieces of shit who are terrified of losing their white supremacist privilege to all the other good, decent Americans who are not the same color, or economic class, or religion of these disgusting fuckwits.

Hannity: never served in the military, actually never served anything but his own skeevy ambition. Limbaugh: avoided the Vietnam draft with a boil on his fat ass. O’Reilly: never served in the military, this loudmouthed creep that he is about patriotism. And yet these assholes try to define patriotism so sanctimoniously though not by their own self-sacrifice for others like this brave US Army Captain Humayun Khan?

Let’s not forget that Trump (he of the five draft deferments during Vietnam), who thinks going to a military boarding prep school made him a Veteran, insulted John McCain’s heroic service as both a Navy fighter pilot and POW in the Vietnam War, as if getting captured serving his country was a sign of failure on McCain’s part. WTF? I thought you Trump folks were patriots; I see many of you toting POW/MIA signs on your Harleys. Do you even know what being a patriot actually means if you didn’t want to rip out Trump’s eyeballs for insulting John McCain like this? I may disagree with McCain’s politics, in fact I disagree with him resolutely and vehemently, but I love this great, heroic American citizen and admire him for his service to us all. Trump isn’t worthy of washing the skidmarks out of McCain’s skivvies. What makes McCain great is that he pretty much blew off such disgusting rhetoric by Trump and stayed above the insult.

Douchebag O’Reilly actually stated the other night that the slaves who built the White House, sure, they were slaves, but they were well fed and had good housing. I mean, how the hell can any decent American citizen think like that? What a vile, disgusting creep. If you agree with him, then I’m afraid to inform you that you’re a vile and disgusting creep too. Maybe some anti-depressants and self-discovery might lead you out of such a vile thought process. I hope so for your sake.

If a crazed terrorist pointed at gun at Ann Coulter, I know a brave heroic cop or soldier would gladly step in front of her and take the bullet to save her. White, black, hispanic, Jew, Christian, atheist, Muslim, Hindu, straight, gay, whatever, that cop or soldier would sacrifice his or her own life to protect a piece of shit like Ann Coulter without question. Let me repeat that: without question. Captain Kahn would have. That’s the difference between those of us who have served and people like Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and Coulter: they just talk shit while we act, even to protect them as they spew their bile in our direction.

I know what side I’m on and it’s far away from these disgusting morons. As human beings and American citizens, we need to stand strong against this kind of vile thinking by public figures like Coulter and O’Reilly. This isn’t about right or left, conservative or liberal, this is about human decency and what America stands for, and it’s not this kind of vile, vicious, racist, divisive rhetoric. This brave Army Captain served honorably. Most of you have no idea what that even means; I barely do only because I witnessed second-hand such sacrifice by others. Respect and honor his sacrifice.

The Best President in My Lifetime

He’s also the greatest orator of his generation. For eight years the scumbags at FOX News and other right-wing media outlets have desperately, furiously, tried to besmirch this man with the worst invectives and pejoratives imaginable, plus flinging wildly all the false accusations about his religion and citizenship, and all the other specious and viciously racist innuendos, moreover he faced all the illogical obstructionism by the Republicans in Congress to block his progressive agenda, despite the fact what he did get passed actually worked brilliantly; despite all this vile opposition, this great man, this honest, moral, and brilliant President, stood above that madness and led with great conscience and decency, with grace and class, and not once did he sink to the petty viciousness of his rabid detractors on the right.

History is going to remember Barack Obama as one of the greatest Presidents the USA has ever had. I am proud to have supported him since he announced his candidacy in 2007. I have been behind him 100% all the years since. I am proud of my support, proud of his service to his country, and proud of what he accomplished despite the vicious opposition he faced. We will miss this great man once his service has ended.

Let the Bern Go

Schadenfreude moment of Bernie supporter protests in Philly during the convention: An idiotic Bernie hippie stomps on a burning flag and gets horribly burned. Silly hippies, silly, silly hippies.

No offense to Bernie supporters, but politics and democracy are never about being good and pure, they’re about winning for your side and protecting its interests. Hillary takes enough shit from the crazies at FOX, and of course she’s far from perfect, but Trump, seriously, is a bumbling, be-shitted, completely incompetent psychopath. He cannot win, and we Democrats need Bernie supporters to help Hillary win.

No wonder Trump appeals to uneducated white trash in such a high percentage, they are probably half-suicidal and don’t give a fuck anyhow. Working a shitty job, mired in debt, and unable to pay child support for the old baby momma’s retards…it’s GOT to be a shitpile being a white loser these days in the rust belt. The good jobs are gone, you’re too stupid to seek a better one, and life just sucks ass with a—gasp—negro President. It’s hell. Hell! So what a great fuck you vote. The Donald, our saviour. How low we’ve fallen, even our less intelligent fellow citizens have lost their fucking minds. So have we, really, but we still have our reason.

Even Bernie wants the Democrats to win, even though he himself has been one of the lousiest politicians of his generation, really. Too much lofty idealism and churlish sanctimony gets jack shit accomplished in the real world, Bern; no one questions your integrity, but your political acumen sucks, you silly old mensch. The Clintons are covered in slime but they’ve been successful players in politics, and that is why the Right-wing crazies hate them so.

Bill Clinton is the political genius of our age. The fact Hillary lost to Obama tells you only one thing, that her vote to back Bush’s war was the costliest mistake of the Clintons’ political lives and it set them back, even now. Most people still hate Hillary for her smarmy move to the right after 9/11. It may have been the right move for a Democrat Senator from NY in 2001 after 9/11, but the stench still rises from her from that calculated move of hers back then. Up until 2001 most of us backed the Clintons, for the most part, despite their selling out the most basic liberal principles. And why? Because after years of Reagan and Bush, we wanted power back in our party’s hands.

Clinton was a sumbitch—but he was our sumbitch. We didn’t full realize the damage he did until long after he’d left. He just planted the seeds, like being in complicity with right-wing Repubs in gutting Glass-Steagall. In 1999 even our worst fears never matched the crash of 2008. Why? Because in 1999 shit was working economically, we had a national budget surplus, people were working…and no one was watching closely enough to see the potential future damage of this huge bubble we were puffing up with fake money and false hubris—except John Ralston Saul and a few good writers in Harper’s who in about 1998 lamented derivatives and the potential damage they could cause.

The problem in the rural, Jesusland part of America is that these half-witted, barely educated preachers stand on their pulpits and promote delusion and laughably silly ideas to an audience of even bigger ignorant turds. They tell their flock to reject science and modernity among other insane ideas, and it’s all wrong. Moral purity is not the goal of a democracy. It’s to get shit done equitably, that competing self interests of various classes and ideals compromise some of them to serve the public weal.

These same idiot preachers watched whole industries in their towns, with their great-paying jobs, get pulled out and sent overseas, and did they fight really hard to keep them? Not really. They were too busy protesting at Planned Parenthood to notice that steel mills and assembly plants were disappearing. They weren’t looking out for their flock, they were looking for ways to take away our rights, we who are not even in their jesus cult. Meanwhile their flock went broke and jobless. And found booze and Oxycontin. And left behind more divorce and broken homes than we can count. What a failure of moral leadership.

The problem in America, as opposed to Europe, is that the lower classes no longer know how to best advocate their self interest. In fact they hardly even fight for their own self interest at all. As we can see this year, the dopey white racist turds hate Obama (and of course Hillary) and would rather vote against their own self interest out of spite. They think of liberalism—the very mechanism that uplifted their fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, and most certainly their mothers—as the great satan of their time. WTF? How do you even converse with people so demented and deluded as this? They all just spew the 10-15 main talking points FOX embedded in their inferior brains. Boy do these morons know these talking points, like religious liturgy, like how Catholics could recite all that Latin mumbo-jumbo without really knowing what the fuck it meant, yet there we were ever Sunday, babbling that bullshit.

Liberalism, of course, failed itself because the college-educate meritocrats who espouse liberal causes treated their less-educated, working-class and poor as children and hardly advocated strongly enough for them. There has been a betrayal by the liberal elite. The Clintons were the masters of this turncoat treachery. The upper-class liberals sucked corporate teat and lost sight of what got them to the higher stratus. Unions no longer mattered as long as Goldman-Sachs and Bank of America were filling their re-election coffers. Fuck the working class, they don’t have retreats in Switzerland or on the beach.

What has made FOX News so brilliant is the fact it so viciously looks out for the self interest of the super wealthy yet masterfully convinces the white peasantry to feel part of the fold. The phony and disingenuous calls to patriotism, the racist dog whistles appealing to the ugly underbelly of the white lower classes, and the demonizing of liberalism as a great evil, has really, over the last 30 years, turned our country into a chaotic, divided, deluded, ignorant mob.

Yet even FOX News barely embraces—hell, barely stomachs—Trump. FOX lost itself so much in tooting that fucking dog whistle to rile the dopey white peasant mob, then, in utter horror, watched this mob, which they thought they controlled and now didn’t, create the rise of Trumpism and the humiliating nut-cutting of the GOP elite, despite FOX’s attempt to undercut Trump.

I watched a little of FOX last week during the GOP convention, and it’s comical the way they swallow the puke and bile rising in them every time they invoke Trump with any kind of solidarity. Hannity of course can look disingenuously pious like any good Nazi propaganda minister.

In six months the nigger—and I use this word in its most rightful context ever in describing how the white mob trash feels about Obama—they have hated so much will be out of office, and, I wonder, how lovingly will they look at Trump if he wins and he’s a bigger disaster than George W. Bush, which we all know was disastrous and yet FOX hardly ever owned up to it during his reign and even now only reluctantly. But at least Trump will, with a willing and insane Congress, pass massive tax cuts for the rich (and a pittance for everyone else to make them feel “special”), meanwhile the cutting will begin in earnest on any and all programs for the poor and underclasses, even the good ones. And Trump will appoint someone even more vile to the SCOTUS than Scalia, some spawn of Hitler jesus freak white supremacist.

So, yes, Bernie folks, there is a clear choice, you silly fuckwits. Maybe come of you loved living under the Bush regime where his neocon warmongers fucked up the Middle East for 100 years and Bush’s libertarian minions ass fucked our economy, the environment, our education system, and damn near everything else. Trump will make Bush look like FDR. And all you whiny hippies, what do you win by all this grousing? If Hillary loses, so be it, we all deserve Generalissimo Trump and his jesus-freak Nazi Vice President Pence. We will deserve four years of serious what the fuck destruction. Whatever. Right? Whatever.

Barista Darwinism; Survival of the Hippest

HipsterOh, to be a worldly and erudite coffee shop barista!

If you live in a big city and buy coffee at one of the countless cafes contained within, you’re bound to encounter a 20-something, overly-tatted-and-pierced, uber-hipster barista with goofy hair who looks with barely-concealed disdain and contempt upon all the “squares” of humanity. We the customers (and I am totally a square!) are not sure what great crimes we’ve inflicted upon the denizens of hipsterville to get treated so crappily by these mopey little coffee-grinding dopes–even if you tip them like a mafia don in Vegas!–but, really, you just have to laugh it off as a generation gap where you’re on the adult side.

Just wait 20 years and you can bet that this hipster will have children and a mortgage and will be spat upon by the next generation of “cool kidz” who will probably have to amputate arms and legs, pierce their livers and other major organs, and get skinned like the victims in Hellraiser II to look “edgy.”

Having said that, if some wise-ass kid did this to me at a friggin’ Starbucks, I’d demand to see the manager immediately and start threatening to sue if he or she doesn’t fire the prick who did this. Because, really, wanting to slap a little creep like this barista would probably be charged as aggravated assault, as these effete, tubby, pasty-faced kids today would crap themselves at even the hint of getting beaten, let alone any actual act of violence coming their way.

We’re too civilized for that kind of response anyhow, right? I’ve been tempted mightily to give an old-fashioned back-handed slap to many of the a-holish, rude idiots out there, but then I realize I’m better than that, more civilized and gracious than they are, and I set a better example by being gracious and magnanimous even when it pains me to hold back my worst instincts.

My father, who was a giant of a man at 6’4″ and full of muscles, and who’d been raised to be hardened like titanium in the South Side Chicago ghetto during the Great Depression, moreover who survived the madness of World War II, always treated any kind of rudeness he faced with a smile and grace, no matter how ugly the other person became. Dad’s charm was that he could usually win over even the biggest assholes (perhaps aided by the fact he was a big man). In the past I may have not followed the old man’s methods, but as I grow older I have definitely learned to be more like him in these situations. Some jerk sneers at me or almost runs me over, I just smile and move on; they are not worth my pulse racing over their idiotic behavior.

My Grandfather’s Autobiography

Pepe Bernat

 

Autobiography of Jean Bernat

 

The Lofty Lads of Leicester City FC

leicesterOn the weekend of the USA’s hyper-opulent sporting event, the NFL Super Bowl, something magical is happening in English football that is, without a doubt, the #1 sports story in the world.

Professional soccer leagues in Europe are typically dominated by the “titan” clubs of the sport, like Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Bayern Munich in Germany, and in England the super-rich clubs with huge fan bases from London, Liverpool, and Manchester. Not this year. The top club in the English Premiere League is poor, little, relatively unknown Leicester City FC, who just earned a spot in the EPL in 2014 after being relegated, and falling, two leagues down the rung nearly 10 years ago and had to fight mightily the last three years to return to the elite English league.

Today Leicester FC totally dominated rich and mighty Manchester City on City’s home turf to take a commanding 5-point lead over the second-place team in the EPL standings. Leicester’s payroll (48 million British Pounds for 25 players) could only pay the wages of Man City’s top five players, (Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, 48 million British Pounds), and yet, somehow, this scrappy club wins with vastly inferior talent in every position than most of the EPL. It has been breathtaking to watch this humble little club beat the big boys, even my beloved Arsenal FC, one of the super-rich, London-based titans.

Seriously, it’s as if a beer league softball team suddenly rose to the top of Major League Baseball. OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but still. All the titans should take notice: spending hundreds of millions to hoard top players isn’t necessarily the best way to win. Suddenly heart, grit, effort, and exceptional coaching are back in vogue after years of a spending war between the titans that sucked all the talent from small clubs like Leicester and placed the best players in the biggest, richest clubs. Take notice, titans. You can win without all those high-priced divas.

And I’m searching online for a Leicester City FC jersey. I’m a convert!

Bad Fiction is Bad Fiction

Firstly I consider myself an avid reader of “literary” fiction, secondly I’m an admitted intellectual elitist, and thirdly I was a huge fan of David Foster Wallace’s essays published in Harper’s and Esquire before he had his novel Infinite Jest published in 1996, for which at the time I was excited to shell out 30 bucks to buy. Having said that, I found Infinite Jest to be a massive, unreadable, incoherent pile of crap. I couldn’t finish it, moreover I don’t know anyone personally who did even though they too are comprised of the above three qualities I listed.

This NYT 20-year anniversary retrospective about Infinite Jest is such piffle and proves what I’ve thought since I began writing and submitting my work in the late 80s to magazines and publishers, that university “Lit Crit” and Creative Writing departments wouldn’t know good fiction writing if it bit them on their pretentious asses.

Wallace was a talented and brilliant guy, but Infinite Jest was a terrible work of fiction piled beneath about 500,000 too many words and an incomprehensible tendency to babble endlessly with words that are laughably way more complex than what needs to make sense even to a word snob like me. Wallace tried too hard to be clever and didn’t try, you know, to write like a good novelist and actually tell a real story with compelling characters, and he didn’t write prose that was clear, meaningful, and unpretentious enough to entice anyone to want to read it other than the douchemongers in academia (or who hail from it and moved on to the publishing or literary criticism side of journalism) who promote this incomprehensible “post-modern” fiction-writing style by such boring and pretentious dopes like Don DeLillo, John Updike, or John Cheever, et al.

For my money, Elmore Leonard was a vastly superior fiction writer than these boring poops, because, first and foremost, he wrote books I actually wanted to finish. I was forced to read Updike and Cheever in college and my scathing criticism of their work typically included words like “boring,” “pretentious,” and “mind-numbingly who gives a damn about some self-loathing Lit Crit professor who’s continually drunk and schtupping some fat ugly neighbor wife of another boring university professor.” Seriously. The only people who loved this crap were other Lit Crit professors who aspired to be the “next great American novelist.” Elmore Leonard, who wrote brilliant, funny, absolutely real pulp crime novels, sold millions of more books and will be remembered as a greater writer than these boring schlubs.

Wallace killed himself many years ago, which is sad. He left behind a few brilliant essays that were published in magazines, and a couple of books that compiled this work, but his fiction novels were not great. I love to read almost as much as I love to breathe, but I couldn’t finish Infinite Jest because it was just awful, both excessively wordy and incomprehensible, and he tried way too hard to sound clever and brilliant; in the end the novel was a gigantic waste of time to read, so I don’t finish it. I have no idea what book this NYT reviewer was reading that compelled him to write such specious and, to me, wholly disingenuous praise for such an unforgettable work by a writer I thought had so much more promise, but, in the end, failed as a writer of good fiction in my opinion.