BIG fucking site update

The film section of this mess is now DONE. Mostly. The information is all up, but I’m not happy with main pages, yet. I would prefer the Genres page to have a custom sidebar, but my WordPress theme is kind of a bitch about that. It’s possible, though. I’m working on it. And I don’t know what I’m doing, so it may take some time.

The main page could also stand to be a little more smooth and look less like a Geocities site circa 1996. Working on that, too.

But the writing is all here. We at The Constant Bleeder are now grilling hamburgers. We’re like a restaurant that’s open, but our sign isn’t finished, yet.

Also, Find My Typos, Win a Vinyl Record.

Coming up next: a MUSIC column called Music Makes You Dumber. (EDIT: Scratch that. I’ve decided to just put the music stuff on the blog.)

Internet Explorer is FAKE NEWS (also, a word on Jack Clark’s novel NOBODY’S ANGEL)


Things are coming together. I’m feeling good. How about you? Did that spot ever clear up?

For about three hours each day, I do what’s essentially a data entry job on this site, linking pages, uploading images, copying, pasting and editing. I fire up a Blu-Ray commentary track or some music (the TURBO KID soundtrack is doing me good lately) for background entertainment and I chug along. The film portion of the site should be done in about a week, likely sooner.

The ONLY problem I’ve noticed is that in Internet Explorer, random images here show up as very tiny. An image that’s normal-sized in every other browser shrinks down to something less than a thumbnail on IE. I don’t get it. Research hasn’t helped. I’ll look into it more, but I have a half a mind to just decide that Internet Explorer sucks and forget about it.

I’m a Google Chrome man. Chrome is the browser of cool people, I say!

Only dorks use Internet Explorer! Let’s spread this around.

And speaking of life and death problems…

Jack Clark

Nobody’s Angel

Hard Case Crime reprint, 2010

I’ve never driven a taxi in my life, but this novel makes me feel like I’ve been doing it for ten years. And I mean that in a good way. This story of one sad cab driver who stumbles into TWO different murder mysteries while he makes a living on the streets of Chicago is a travelogue of the city, as well as of the job and of the narrator’s frayed nerves. Jack Clark writes prose full of coffee and misery and moonlight. He was a taxi driver for thirty years and as in all of the coolest fiction, this is a writer writing about his own life, just under the thin guise of the crime genre. Meanwhile, you don’t care much about the murder mysteries. One involves a standard prostitute-snuffer who prowls the streets in a van at which our narrator only got a quick glance (barely remembers a thing); the other is someone who’s out killing cab drivers. Jack Clark builds no house of cards, nor does he intend to do so. There are no compelling clues. And our narrator is no detective. His idea of sleuthing is driving past a murder scene a few times and most of his ideas turn out be wrong. It’s no matter, though. Here, the dead bodies are less important than how our narrator feels about them. The investigation, like a taxi, is a vehicle for traveling the byways of his soul and it’s not the nicest neighborhood. To his great credit, Jack Clark also brings in one more brave and important dose of reality here: Sometimes some mysteries go unexplained.



My Kinda Holiday Movies #1: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming and there’s nothing that we can do about that. Nobody likes it, but we still keep Valentine’s Day around for some reason. It’s the black jellybean of holidays. It’s the Jay Leno of holidays. Actually, it’s less a holiday than it is a billing date on which proof that you’re a good husband or boyfriend is due.

Even if you’re with a cool girl who says that she doesn’t care about Valentine’s Day, you’re gonna feel like a real tool if you don’t do ANYTHING. There’s a 100% chance that one of her friends has a stupid boyfriend who went all out with a truckload of roses and a $300 bottle of Chardonnay at Le Sacre Bleu, leaving you looking as useful as a bag of old banana peels by comparison. If you ever work in a restaurant on The Big Day, you see as many miserable couples as you do happy ones. It’s funny after awhile. For a day devoted to love, Valentine’s Day doesn’t get much of it.

Continue reading “My Kinda Holiday Movies #1: Valentine’s Day”

Ann Sterzinger’s THE TALKATIVE CORPSE (and a brief website progress update)

I thought that I would have this website completed by now, but NOPE. I bought the domain name and the web space last November and I’m still learning on the job.

I’m still having bad ideas, working on them for several days and then trashing it all when I figure out that it stinks.

I started out with NO vision for this site, but one is slowly cohering by trial and error. When it’s finished, I’m hoping that this Constant Bleeder bullshit is something decent. We’ll see.

In the meantime, here’s a piece about a good book that I just read:

Ann Sterzinger

The Talkative Corpse

Hopeless Books, 2013

In this novel, a 40 year old educated man toils in minimum wage helljobs in Chicago circa 2011-12. Also, his girlfriend dumped him and he’s late on the rent for his shitty apartment.

Life has been kicking this guy in the balls ever since the internet killed his old newspaper job. Anne Sterzinger’s John Jaggo is a man under EVERYONE’S boot heel. Is he The World’s Biggest Loser or is he a kind of tarnished saint who suffers for the sins of modern living? Sterzinger argues the latter. This book is his journal, written to be sealed up, buried and discovered by people in the future. If Jaggo’s given up on happiness now, he’ll take immortality in a hundred years or so. He writes like it’s the only thing that keeps him sane.

It’s an essential perspective on the follies of the early 21st century. Sterzinger knows the sting of fluorescent lights, the horror of customer service and the terror of shitbag bosses at low-level office computer drone jobs like John Steinbeck knows Salinas Valley. Her narrator is articulate (and funny) in a well-read way. He neatly disembowels the Occupy movement (Jaggo attends a demonstration and finds it less than inspiring, to put it mildly), while also having little fondness for the fruits of capitalism.

And while everyone today has something to say about technology, Sterzinger is among the very few to talk frankly about how it’s taking away our jobs. Whatever the hell it is that you do for a living, there’s someone somewhere working on a machine, a website or a program to make your job, or even your entire industry, obsolete.

Capitalism considers the working class to be cattle, at best (and a burden, at worst), and Socialism has slid into laughable irrelevance. Most people into Socialism in 2017 are privileged bumblers. Socialism needs a strong and galvanized working class to make any sense at all. Today’s working class ain’t buying it. They’re not on board. They don’t care. They’re too busy bracing themselves for their jobs to become worthless while the rest of the world enjoys the technological innovation that made it happen. For Socialism to be relevant, the working class needs to feel relevant. And that’s the exact opposite of what’s happening.

Some in Generation X got hit extra hard with this. They went to college in the very last moments that a degree in the Humanities was still considered worthwhile. They graduated into a precarious job market and so heavy in debt that a suspicious mind might think that said debt was the sole reason why they were lured into college in the first place.

On the upside, Ann Sterzinger is doing HER job as a novelist to document all of this shit. THE TALKATIVE CORPSE is a book about one sad man in 2011 and 2012, but it feels like the end of the world.

But it’s NOT the end of the world.

The brilliant stroke of this book is that it’s presented as an ancient artifact discovered by the people of an unimaginable future (their presence felt faintly in an introduction and a few scattered “translator’s notes”). Every tragedy is undercut by how its main character, and all of us, are now dust. You and I are far-gone fertilizer here, no matter what our problems or status. It’s poignant and in a way it makes us all laughable.

It’s a book that gives us exactly what we deserve.