I was a Hipster Before it was Cool – or uncool if that’s what it is now – Deadpool

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Deadpool 2 is coming out today. I’m excited. I’m not going to see it today. Maybe on Monday because I’ve got some time to kill or maybe whatever. I’ll figure it out. I’m so far behind on movies.

A friend and I had a great conversation. He asked, “What do you think about comic book stuff being so popular now?”

All in all, I think it’s pretty great. These characters have gotten exposure and changed movies, clothes, promotional stuff and entire other stuff. I think there are too many crappy comic book movies, but I’m happy with the good ones. I’m happiest that they’ve turned characters I’ve never cared about to characters I’ll pay attention to. I never once cared about the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor or Doctor Strange. I’m happy they managed to change my mind about those guys. I wish they’d make Punisher not suck.

A decade ago, Deadpool was still mostly unknown. His comic would go in and out of print. Most people didn’t care. They even “killed him off” and made him Agent X for a while — which I thought was alright, but not as cool as Deadpool.

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This is Deadpool’s first appearance ever. I remember New Mutants #98. I didn’t buy it because back then I only bought Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man and X-Men, but if you’ve got that in your collection, dang. That’s a big one. Deadpool looked cool but he had no personality – just Spider-Man with guns.

Some fans liked him, but not enough for much. I did search long and hard for X-Force #1 with the limited Deadpool baseball card. It was a complete waste of money, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got two of them.

Writers and artists molded this throwaway character into something that people just liked. Nobody up top seemed to care so people just did what they wanted. All the other X-Force and New Mutants don’t really matter. Looking at NM #98 and I don’t remember anything about Domino or Gideon. They look stupid. I barely remember anything about Cable. Deadpool was only in every five issues or so until he would get a miniseries or something.

Then a video game called “X-Men Legends 2” came out and he was a minor character. And he talked constantly. A new group of fans came about. DP popped into a few more games and his popularity took off. “Wolverine: Origins” came out and destroyed any fans’ hopes for a cool Deadpool movie. And they even cast Ryan Reynolds who everybody thought would be perfect. It was absolutely awful.

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“Hulk vs. Wolverine” came out. It was a cartoon. Deadpool was in it, and stole the show. I don’t know how many fans watched this, but I thought, “Hey, maybe if a cartoon can manage not to screw this up, maybe they can do a full-length animation.”

Rumors of a solo Deadpool movie impressed mostly nobody. Who cares? They screwed up Deadpool in “Wolverine: Origins,” so why should we give a crap about spending ticket money for another disaster?

All of a sudden just about everybody knows about Deadpool. His movie may overshadow the last few giant movies. Who knew?

I think once Target and Wal-Mart start carrying clothes, that’s when your thing has hit mainstream. And those two stores actually carry some pretty cool shirts now. Back in my day (said in an old timey voice) I used to have to order clothes from www.stylinonline.com. They’re clothes are still the toppest of the top notch.

In some ways, the hipster in me wishes these things weren’t that easy. I searched long and hard and wide for my comics and fanboy stuff. I could tell you mountains of stuff about Deadpool, Punisher and Wolverine that people just don’t know. I’m not trying to be the annoying comic book guy, but…

I wish people would go to the source material. Let’s say a quarter of the people that see Deadpool later decide, “Hey, I want to know more about that world.” They go to their local comic book shop and decide to get some Deadpool stuff. Or Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Avengers, Black Panther, Superman or Gwenpool.

Now that starts a chain reaction. Wow. Somebody’s buying comics again. Usually comic book stores are small businesses. Boom. Now you’re doing some good for your local nerds. You’re buying a product. Woohoo! Distributors see that people are interested in comics, so they start looking for writers. If people are looking for writers, they know where to find them. Me!

Do I like most of the Deadpool comics? Um, some of them are alright. I’ve seen a lot of cool ones come and go. The one where he gets Thom Cruz’s face is pretty funny. He gets interns in one great story arc. “Mission Improbable” was badass. I wrote one where he teams up with U.S. Agent and they try to get more popular than Spider-Man and Captain America.

Hell, I had a Deadpool tattoo on my back — which is the only tattoo I regret. It’s the only tattoo that doesn’t mean anything to me (yes, the dinosaur kicking a businessman in the nuts means something). I covered up Deadpool with something else, which I also regret. I kind of wish I just kept the damn Deadpool tattoo, but mostly I wish I didn’t get a Deadpool tattoo in the first place. I’m glad nobody sees it anymore. I still like Deadpool and consider him one of my favorite superpowered characters, but not enough for a tattoo.

In my closet, you’ll find two tees, two hoodies, a beanie and slip-on shoes featuring the Merc with a Mouth. I’m wearing a hoodie now.

But I’m not a poser that just saw the movie a few years ago and decided to buy some stuff with his logo. I’ve followed the Merc with a Mouth for more than 20 years. I liked him way before he was cool. And I’m glad he’s out there for the adoring public.

Are there any popular things that you liked before they got cool?

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Day 29: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“Reflect on how you distribute your attention throughout the day. How much of it is directed to what is truly important? How often do you allow yourself to become trivial? If we become what we focus on, what are you becoming?”

First and foremost, I think social media sucks up way too much time. The internet too. That’s why I don’t have internet at home. Or television.

During the workweek while I’m at the desk I read a lot of news articles and make sure to email everybody in my list.

Usually, I can get all the required work done. My job is weird because most of the times I have to ask, “How do I do this?” or “What do you want me to do here?” Mostly, because the bosses are not necessarily good at telling me.

But once I’m rolling at work, I’ll finish whatever. Sometimes I just get going. Yippee. Some thing with actual writing. Sometimes everything just works out perfectly and “Whoa! I’ve been at the keyboard for four hours!” That’s a great feeling.

I am fine being trivial. I watched a movie last night instead of writing. I think the world will keep turning. I need to stay on the writing. It’s difficult, but I need to remember that if I don’t care, than nobody does.

What am I becoming? Hopefully an effing writer. I spend plenty of damn time on it. I’m about to take another step to become an even more starving writer. Yippee.

Nashville and Louisville

I took a mini-road trip last weekend. My friend Alex and I decided to ditch our cities and bounce to some parts unknown.

We met up in Louisville, Kentucky. I pronounced the name wrong 99.998 percent of the time. There is a Louisville, Colorado that is not pronounced the same as the Kentucky version.

I wanted to see the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Muhammad Ali stuff, but we just didn’t have enough time.

We went to Mammoth National Park for some hiking, camping and atmosphere but most of all for some peace and quiet. That was easily the best part. I saw some animals, trees, greenery, lightning bugs and stars.

Stars are crazy. I didn’t really appreciate them until I noticed them and then lost them. They are visible in Colorado, but you might be able to see two on a good day in Seoul or NYC or Chicago.

It was great. We made a fire (after three or four really pathetic attempts) and cooked some hot dogs and s’mores. It was funny because I’d just seen “The Sandlot” with the s’mores scene. And we sort of considered s’mores vodka.

I wanted to see some animals, but all we really saw were some birds and deer. The deer didn’t look like our Coloradoan and North Dakotan deer. The were redder and skinnier. Weird.

We went to Mammoth Cave. Every single ranger was so nice and cool. I really wish we spent more time over there and could have hung out with the rangers. That was such a cool gig. Or maybe being a park ranger would make you hate the outdoors and society.

The next day we grabbed some very mediocre BBQ and then went to Nashville.

Nashville was alright. We went to the music area, but I thought it felt more like LoDo (Lower Downtown) Denver than anything else. Lots of people, music and bars, but I wasn’t really in the mood for that or that interested in drinking around a ton of people. I can do that here in Chicago.

There were a few things about Nashville’s downtown that I liked:

1. It was clean.
2. People were nice.
3. Even though there were a lot of people, I didn’t really feel crowded.
4. Most of everybody seemed to be having a good time.
5. There looked like a ton of things to do.

There were also a few major things I disliked:

1. Call me a Thrifty Cheapass, but I hate not knowing how much a beer will cost when I’m looking at a menu in a restaurant. If I’m in a dive bar, I’ll just have to guess at prices. But when I’m sitting down for a sandwich and there’s nothing to tell me how much my PBR is going to cost me…fuck it. I don’t want to be there.
2. Bathroom attendants. I hate these guys. Maybe somebody likes them or finds them useful, but I really just want to use the boys’ room in peace. I don’t need somebody washing my hands or whatever. We had bathroom attendants in some of the clubs I’ve worked in. I don’t like being pressured into tipping something I don’t want to do. I like drinking in bars. I like tipping servers. I hate bathroom attendants.

The biggest and baddest thing was, these two annoying things were at the same restaurant bar!!! Not a club. Not a lounge. Just a regular old bar where we ordered some very mediocre food.

We ended up blowing $6 for domestic bottles and then there was a guy trying to hand me paper towels after I took a leak. I finished by booze and whiz and bounced as fast as possible.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to visit Louisville and Nashville was because I’d heard both of those places were cool and maybe I’d like to move there. I’ve been so unhappy in Chicago that I thought I’d better look at some other spots.

My little experience did a pretty good job of changing my mind. I’m not interested in either city now. Some things rubbed me the wrong way and others just didn’t rub me in any way.

Both places seemed a little too expensive and a little too uninteresting. When I move to a place I want to have a job or a friend. I don’t want to make the same mistake that I made when I moved to Chicago. I had a couple buddies here, but no job. If I moved to Nashville or Louisville I’d be in a worse situation because I’d have no friends or job.

Maybe I’ll revisit these cities another time, but if that happens I’d like to go with a better guide. Closing eyes to pick places to go or looking at Yelp reviews doesn’t necessarily make a good vacation.

Day 28: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“When the world seems intent on outraging you, how can you maintain your sanity without becoming a misanthrope?”

“Is it caring about the right things? Is it being so focused on your aim that every obstacle is just fuel for the fire? Is it learning to tame your desires? To be more aware of silly frustrations? What will work for you?”

How does the great Casey Freeman stay sane without becoming a misanthrope?

This is a perfect writing prompt for the last few years of my life.

Plain and simply, I need to chill the hell out. How does one do that? I don’t know.
I do my best not to take stuff as seriously as I used to. It’s not the end of the world if somebody bumps into you, doesn’t like your thing or ignored you. Or if you accidentally drop something.

I’ve done my best to do the things I like to do. If I don’t like something, I make a change. Maybe that’s not always the best thing in the world since in the past eight years I’ve lived in Denver x2, Seoul x4, Elizabeth, Chicago x2 and now looking for another spot.

I don’t want to be the cranky old man so if I can get out of that atmosphere, that would be great.

Right now, I don’t want to be around all the urban noise and shitty people. I’d like to be out in the smaller cities. Fire engines, homeless people, trains, gunshots and all that are annoying to me. How can I solve that? By moving somewhere new which is what I want to do.

I really liked the indie movie “Safety Not Guaranteed.” I probably wouldn’t like “Pirates of the Caribbean Part ___.” But it’s safe to say that the Johnny Depp movie will make a ton of money but the tiny one won’t. I can’t get mad at the world for wanting that. So I do my best not to.

What should I care about?

I care about my writing career, health and friends. A lot of the things many people care about, I don’t. I think that’s totally fine. Not having a car, house, kids or wife whittles down a lot of my worries.

I want to be a successful writer. The rest of the stuff doesn’t totally matter.

I am aware of silly frustrations and I try to stay positive about stuff. I think that’s important. Laughing at stupid crap makes life a little easier to deal with.

Sooner or later I’m going to nail this whole thing down.

How about you folks?

Day 27: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“Is there an area where confidence or action could actually straighten out your thinking more than another book?”

I don’t like this question because I’m not totally understanding this question.

Anything could straighten me out more than another book.

I’m going to steal some of my own teaching lessons and mix them into this blog.

After my first terrible breakup and knowing that I sucked at relationships, I read “The Game” by Neil Strauss about pick-up artists. I thought, “Hey, I could do all of that stuff. Bing bang boom, I’m feeling more confident.”

Well, memorizing every relationship book doesn’t make you good with women. Reading a million grammar books or studying the dictionary doesn’t make you a perfect writer. Watching Jiu Jitsu videos on YouTube doesn’t make you great at Jiu Jitsu.

Only doing those things makes you better at those things.

Yes. you need the theory, the grammar, the vocab and the basics. But you also need to know how to actually do those things.

Sucking and failing at these things is totally cool. There’s nothing wrong with that. Our schools of thought are constantly pulled one way to the other. We hear about Stephen King who threw away his first manuscript but his wife fished it out. Now he’s the most popular writer of all time (or something).

Stephen King didn’t just magically touch the typewriter and pump out novels. He sat and sat and typed and typed. I’m reading some of my old writing and I hate it. I won’t say I’m embarrassed at it, but I definitely hope I’ve gotten better. I think this is something artists or creative people are supposed to say. But I truly believe I’ve grown a lot as a writer.

Books are wonderful. I wish more and more would be read and published — and I hope my books are right on top. But going out and doing whatever you want to be be good at is much more important than knowing every last detail. You learn some basics and some from experience.

I hope this answer is alright. Yikes.

Day 26: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“Recall a time where you were thrown off course only to find yourself where you intended to be — or somewhere better.”

“How can you focus less on the end destination, and more on doing what’s right, right now, when you’re forced to take a detour?”

The easy answer was Korea. I was just going to do something over there for the meantime. Working in journalism wasn’t happening. I couldn’t find a job. I said, “Well, I’ll give Korea a shot. Maybe in a bit things will have changed.” Korea turned out to be great for me. I stayed spent six years instead of one. Saved up money. Published books. Did a ton of writing. Got into shape. Friends. Relationships. Memories.

I hope not to bore people with my Korea stories, but it really is the foundation that most of my life is built upon. Changing positions from a bouncer to a professor was pretty incredible for me.

How can I focus less on the end destination and more on what’s right at the moment when I’m forced to take a detour?

I wish I could say that I have a good gut judgment to tell what’s right or not, but I don’t.

The easiest thing advice to myself is keep at it. That book will never write itself. Yeah, the last two books I wrote had nothing to do with science fiction, horror or fantasy. That’s not really what I feel I’m the best at, but they’re two of my best books ever. Now I’m trying to edit a scifi book and reading through it shows me that I’ve learned a lot over the past year. That took a lot of hard work. It’s going to take even more to make this scifi book as good as my comedy/drama novel.

Whatever. That’s part of the detour. A straight line is great, but that’s not how life usually works.

Day 25: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“When is the last time you changed your mind about a deep-seated belief? Is there a belief you’re holding onto, despite an accumulation of contrary evidence, because you’re stubborn, or don’t want to feel inconsistent, or simply are afraid to let it go?”

Geez. Great question. I don’t know.

I think I make a lot of stereotypes, preconceived notions and ideas about things. Whether I judge somebody by appearance, actions, clothes or whatever. Biggest case in point. There was a lady at my office that dressed very flamboyantly, was loud, got in your business and was very opinionated. I couldn’t stand her in the beginning. Then we sat around one day and…

“What???” She likes a lot of the same movies as me.

What? She lived in Korea too. We both liked this and that and the other thing.

I enjoy being proven wrong whenever I have a shitty view of something. I thought Game of Thrones, Up, Fireball Whiskey, Amtrak, rashguards, man tights, my clean shaven face and who knows how many other things were stupid. I was proved wrong. Hooray!

My big guess is that we’re taught that we’re right. So many people can’t admit that they’re wrong. I’m happy to let something else go. I remember being furious at this kid who beat me at hockey. He was smaller and younger than me. How the hell could this happen??!?!?! But there was a big factor: he knew how to play hockey. That’s no reason to hate him, hate myself or hate hockey. Maybe you could…dum dum dum… learn something from him or that experience.

Yeah, I don’t feel ashamed at being beat or being wrong. There you go!

This list of writing prompts was supposed to be done in 31 days. It’s May 4! Ahhhh. Oh well. I am getting some good writing out of the deal.

See you soon gang.

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kc bean
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Day 24: Journaling

Everyday I’m writing to get my day started. I’ve got great prompts from this site:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/2018/02/28/31-days-greater-self-reliance/

Today’s question is…

“Make a longer list (15+) of your basic assumptions about life. Go back and look at each critically. Is this true? Why do you believe this thing? Because someone told you it’s the truth or because you’ve seen it proven? Or because it’s something you’ve chosen to have faith in?”

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Here are my basic assumptions about life:

1. Eat Healthy, be healthy
2. Smoking cigarettes is bad
3. Exercise is good
4. Be nice
5. Most popular stuff is usually crap
6. Chase your dream
7. Work hard enough, that dream will come true
8. Family first
9. The truth is out there (not an X-Files reference)
10. Associated Press Style is the best writing style
11. The book is sometimes better than the movie
12. I am a talented writer
13. I am a talented teacher
14. The more you care about somebody, the more they should care about you
15. New Year’s Resolutions are good
16. Keeping a daily planner is good
17. Goals are good
18. Everybody has one or two stupid things
19. Cheat days are good (sometimes)
20. There’s no need to force anybody to do anything
21. Don’t trust the government
22. Be quiet and listen more
23. Be friendly with exes

Is it true? Why do I believe it? Do I have faith in it?
1. Eat Healthy, be healthy
This is a big weird one. I believe in eating healthy. I usually cook most of my meals and do my best to gorge myself on vegetables. I don’t eat a lot of fatty foods or junk food. However, that doesn’t necessarily means I’m healthy. You’ll have a tough time trying to find somebody with as many problems as me. But are injuries or just other things that have nothing to do with eating.
Also, my healthy diet might be different than yours. I’m not lactose intolerant. Etc.

2. Smoking is bad
I believe this, but I don’t really care if other people smoke. Just don’t burn me with your cigarette and if we’re going to kiss afterwards, chew some gum first please.

3. Exercise is good
Again, another weird one. Being in shape means a lot of different things. I’ve been in a lot of shapes: swimming, running, wrestling, weightlifting and recovering. Others can be more healthy than others. Weightlifting shape doesn’t do much good for swimming, running or wrestling. Recovering isn’t good for anything except recovering. My favorite shape was wrestling because I looked awesome, but that took a lot of not eating.

4. Be nice
Yet another odd pick. I do my best to make a point to do at least one nice thing a day. I think it’s worked for me. I’m doing my best to let stuff that I can’t control slide. But I wish other people would stand up to other people. Please, tell the annoying person on the phone to shut up. That guy that threw his candy wrapper in the street, tell his fat ass to pick it up. I want to be known as a nice person. I know I can truly be a dick. Sometimes, it’s just not worth being nice.

5. Most popular stuff is usually crap
I’m always happy when I’m proven wrong. I thought I’d hate “Game of Thrones,” “Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter,” “Chipotle” and who knows how many other things that everybody liked. However, there are plenty of things I’ve been right about.

6. Chase your dream
If you aren’t trying to do something that you want, what the hell are you doing anything for? My dream is to be a paid novelist. I don’t need a million dollars, but I’d like people to read and enjoy my stuff.

7. Work hard enough, that dream will come true
This can be somewhat true. I’m nearly finished with my best novel yet. It might not be the best novel ever, but I truly believe it shows all the love, thought and care I put into it. However, all the work in the world doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the help, criticism and time to do it. Also, sometimes you just suck at stuff. I’ll probably never be a BJJ black belt no matter how long I train. And that’s cool. I can dream, but my heart’s not completely in it.

8. Family first
I don’t even come close to believing this.

9. The truth is out there (not an X-Files reference)
I really want somebody to tell facts. Inform me without biased bullshit. Please. Will it happen? I have no idea.

10. Associated Press Style is the best writing style
I like AP Style. It’s what I was trained on. Chicago Style just looks wrong. This is a Coke vs. Pepsi debate. The problem is when you can’t turn AP Style off. Writing novels and blogs that are supposed to be fun or reading other stuff and catching AP mistakes that aren’t mistakes in other styles is annoying. My novel writing and blogging mix between AP and my own style.

11. The book is sometimes better than the movie
True. The big thing is sometimes. “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Charlie Wilson’s War” and a few other books have been so boring or shittily written that proved to me that the movie can be better than the book.

12. I am a talented writer
It really depends on who you talk to. I still truly believe this, but some people prefer not to read about sex, bathroom humor and weird violence or whatever. Some do!

13. I am a talented teacher
I believe this. I feel experienced with a lot of topics and actually enjoy teaching. I wish I could make a better wage doing this though.

14. The more you care about somebody, the more they should care about you
Yes and no. As I get older and learn to be a better relationship person, I want to show that I care. Whether it’s doing something like, “Your girlfriend likes May Day, I hope you have a good May Day” or “I was thinking about you when I saw this thing.” I think that’s a great way to let somebody know they’re important to you. But too much of this is annoying and/or creepy.

15. New Year’s Resolutions are good
Believe it. I do my best to get as much shiz as possible done. My birthday is also New Year’s Eve so I know that I’ve got a year to get them finished. I usually do well. I just need more time! Haha.

16. Keeping a daily planner is good
Yep. I like writing it out every day and then crossing stuff off every day. I like to feel accomplished.

17. Goals are good
Duh.

18. Everybody has one or two stupid things
I like smoking that shit-we-used-to-smoke-back-in-the-day and watch weird cartoons and eat candy. I like grocery and book shopping. Whatever. You like something stupid too.

19. Cheat days are good (sometimes)
If you don’t get to eat what you want from time to time, you go bonkers. Just make sure your rewards aren’t all the time.

20. There’s no need to force anybody to do anything
Yeah, mostly. I remember trying to get a friend to drink a beer. “Oh come on, it’s just one.” He repeatedly said no and no again. I asked “Why not?” He said, “If I drink one beer, then I’ll drink another and then another and then find the first meth dealer and do that until I’m out of money and then beat a guy to death to get more.” I said, “Yeah. More beer for me.”
However, touch a woman around me and I’ll force you not to.

21. Don’t trust the government
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a good reason not to do this.

22. Be quiet and listen more
Somebody may impress, entertain, disappoint or show their true colors to you.

23. Be friendly with exes
Why the hell not? Unless it was really ugly. What do you have to lose?

Johnny Rotten

johnny

***(((Hey! I don’t own any of the rights to any of these photos!!!)))
My last blog was about how I modeled my life after others.

Right now, I think Marilyn Manson, Bill Hicks and Johnny Rotten were three of my biggest celebrity influences in my life.

johnny1

***(((I don’t own this photo either!!!)))

I’m pretty sure I opened up a Hit Parader magazine, but it could have been Spin or Rolling Stone — I can’t remember right now. Whatever.

I saw his photo and thought, “I’ve got to be like that guy.”

I hadn’t heard of the Sex Pistols before, although I’d “Pretty Vacant” because it was on a sketch comedy show I liked called “Vacant Lot.”

Why did I think such a weird-looking dude was so cool? Great question. I just saw the way he looked and felt some kind of weird energy or some relation to him.

Johnny Rotten has this look. This ability to channel all this emotion and desire for change — his clothes, his music and his quotes. He doesn’t seem to be a hateful guy, except when he wants to be.

He helped me to form my anti-establishment views. After listening to him and Marilyn Manson and Bill Hicks, I realized I didn’t want to be like everybody else. I didn’t want to listen to everybody’s bullshit. I still did, but I didn’t want to.

Those things affected my life. And the Sex Pistols are still one of my all-time favorite bands. I still like Marilyn Manson, but don’t really care for his music. Bill Hicks is still a giant hero. Johnny Rotten’s book “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish” is fabulous, but Marilyn Manson’s “A Long Hard Road out of Hell” is my favorite (auto)biography ever.

Thanks Johnny Rotten and the rest of the weird heroes I’ve got.