Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Feel free to come check out these and many others from my awesome motel postcard collection on my blog The Postcard Motel.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Yeah, I know you read it in high school. I'm not precisely certain how I made it through an AP English program, an undergraduate degree in English literature and 24 intervening years without ever having read George Orwell's "ANIMAL FARM". It's ever-more baffling when I consider how mind-blowing "1984" was for me when I read it at age 15. I instantly announced it as my "favorite book of all time", passing up Steven King's "The Stand" at that point in my life. It's still one of my favorites. So anyway, I got around to reading "Animal Farm" this year, and I'm the better for it, as I'm sure you were when you first observed a barnyard full of English countryside animals acting out the full passion play of Soviet Communism. It's a lacerating critique of totalitarianism that chokes Communism with its own idealistic idiocy and out-and-out lies, while even saving up a teeny tiny bit of spite for the capitalist as well.

Orwell's novela taught many impressionable youth over the years to keep from naively buying into utopianism and to question the motives of authority. Naturally, readers of all political persuasions can read whatever fits their agenda into this simple tale. Yet it's without question that "Animal Farm" pillories the rise and the corruption of Soviet Communism – if, indeed, a corrupt ideology could be corrupted – by choosing perfectly-rendered (and by necessity, simplified) Marx, Stalin and Trotsky characters for his narrative. They're all pigs! I loved "Old Master" (Marx)'s call-to-arms speech that kicks off the book, as well as the rallying song that came to him in a dream, "Beasts of England", which is, of course, "The Intenationale". Moreover, his non-totalitarian allegorical animals are fun and instructive to behold. There's Molly, the proud, vain and individualistic horse who sees her vanity and individualism being crushed by collectivist propaganda and demeaning regression to the mean – and therefore runs off to live on a "capitalist" farm. There's the oafish horse Boxer, who symbolizes the obedient and ultimately betrayed Russian working class. And my favorite is the propaganda master Squealer, who is Napoleon/Stalin's right-hand man who convinces and cajoles the various doubting animals into continuing to render themselves unto the Communist cause, even as they starve, are lied to and are worked to near-death.

It would have been eye-opening to read and especially to debate this in 1983 in my high school English class, I can tell you that. Reagan was president, the Russians were the enemy, and "Red Dawn" was one of the most popular movies in America. Still, it has much to teach both the youth and the fortysomethings of today, and it's so well-written and entertaining that I'm certain it won't end up being regarded as a relic of the 20th century. 5 stars out of 5 from The Hedonist Jive.

Monday, July 22, 2013


It lives! I thought after my last fiasco of a show that the people might revolt and I'd be asked to stop doing these hour-long phony radio show podcasts, but no, turns out several dozen of you liked that one and I've presumptively assumed that you'd like me to keep going. So here's DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE RADIO PODCAST #17, this time 1 hour, 11 minutes of wiry punk, aggressive pop stomp, razorburn instrumental surf music and some loopy early 80s UK DIY that was (perhaps) lost to time until today. I think you're going to find a song or two you like in this batch, some of which came from a pile of 45s I turned into digital tracks just last night.

Bands span the quality and fame gamut from The Au Pairs to Subverse, from Submarine Races to The Titans, from The Great Unwashed to the Axel Grinders, and even from The Wailers to Blunder Tongue. Download it, stream it, and as always – make sure you tell all of your pals about it.


Track listing:

SKINNY GIRL DIET – Eyes That Paralyze
HOT MACHINES – Tear It Apart
RADIO BEATS – Backseat Learnin’
THE CHEIFS – Knocked Out
AXEL GRINDERS – Apparatus of Love
DIE SWEETLES – Die Schule Ist Aus
THE TITANS – Speed Queen Mama
RUST – Shameless Thieves
SUBVERSE – Chance Romance
TIKI MEN – Swingin’ Creeper
BLUNDER TONGUE – Third Brown Eye

Friday, July 19, 2013


It was late March, 2013. A middle-aged man residing in San Francisco, California sat down at his computer to graciously provide the good people of the world with a forecast of the Major League Baseball season that was soon to come. This man, only just a mortal man, and no prophet, believed in things – nay, could see things. Perhaps, as is surely apparent now, this man could in fact see things that others could not. This man looked at all the conventional wisdom of his day, and while absorbing some and discarding much, made bold prognostications that were devastatingly prescient, while being stupendously unconventional. The man picked the Boston Red Sox to win their division, the most difficult division in baseball – for instance. That baseball team is now in first place in that division. This same man believed in the Atlanta Braves, a team beloved by no man in March 2013, and a team currently in first place in their division as well. It is no mere accident that I know so much about this man and his ways, my friends – for I am that man.

Oh right, what about those Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, or the San Francisco Giants? Yeah well, what are you gonna do, right? It's baseball! I've been basking in the first half of the 2013 season, and, with its resumption today after the All-Star break layoff, I thought I'd offer up a few thoughts and observations for you to take with you through the end of the season:

  • Sports Illustrated recalibrated their World Series predictions in their new issue, so I guess that gives the rest of us license to do the same. They have St. Louis beating Texas at the end. I'll stick with my World Champions-to-be the Atlanta Braves, this time beating the Detroit Tigers in 7 games instead of beating the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles, who will miss the playoffs and suffer an offseason of acrimony, finger-pointing and bitter recrimination.
  • Like you, I'm loving the Pittsburgh Pirates story. For a big part of my youth, they were a dominant team, but the last time they were any good, we were all 21 years younger. I had thought that the big surprise story this year would be the Kansas City Royals, and in some quarters, it's a big surprise that they're not contending. A little piece of every baseball fan will die if the Pirates collapse in the second half, and don't at least finish with their dignity intact and their first winning record since 1992. Is that too much to ask?
  • My San Francisco Giants, currently 8 games under .500 and yet only 6.5 games out of first place, will do one of two dramatic things in the next 3 months, all without making the playoffs. I'd give them about a 60% chance to actually have a worse second half, and to get to a "rebuilding" mindset about 6 weeks from now, if not sooner. As baseball becomes a sport of prospects in their 20s, as opposed to a sport of expensive free agents in their 30s, look for the Giants to embrace the new trend and start selling off parts (Pence, Lincecum, Romo and so on) in favor of stocking the farm. Then again – there's a 40% chance they start playing really, really well, far better than their mostly-abysmal first half, just enough to contend for second place or a strong third, and call it an odd-year aberration on the way to their third straight even-year World Championship in 2014.
  • I'm also looking forward to the Great Steroid Bust of 2013. Any day now, Major League Baseball is going to announce who's in trouble from the Biogenesis scandal. Clowns like A-Rod and Ryan Braun will be suspended, most likely for a long time, and even their own union has proactively announced that it won't defend them. It's clear that the players, the grand majority, are looking to move on from this story and the taint that comes from it on their own steroid-free performances. Who among us isn't looking askance at Chris Davis, rightly or wrongly, for instance? I'd like for this whole thing to be gone, with the dopers swept out for good and playing field metaphorically leveled again.
  • Can the Oakland A's keep playing this well? Man, I hope so. I've actually been to more A's games this year than Giants games, and all of a sudden it's just a fantastic atmosphere over there in the disgusting, decrepit Oakland Coliseum. I haven't seen such excitement and fan unity & cohesion since the BillyBall days. They're a fun team with what appears to be a terrific set of individuals for the second year in a row, and my dream Series is them vs. the Pirates this October.
  • Hedonist Jive's favorite ballplayers, as of July 2013, in no particular order (see my 2010 list here – it's funny to see how many of those guys are out of baseball, on different teams, or just flat-out stink now): Andrew McCutchen, Pablo Sandoval, Paul Goldschmidt, Mike Trout, Freddie Freeman, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes, Aroldis Chapman, Chris Sale, Yu Darvish, Shelby Miller, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson, Craig Kimbrel, Grant Balfour. Why? I don't know. I like these guys, the way they play the game and stuff.
See you at the end of the season, when we do our annual post-mortem and hand out some hardware!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


If one were to opine, say, that Communism was one of the "worst ideas of all time", I'd have a hard time countering that statement with a well-formed and persuasive argument to what is nearly a truism at this point. If one were to hone that opinion a bit and say that "Soviet-style Communism", the kind exported to Eastern Europe after World War II, was one of the, if not the worst idea of all time, I'd probably stand up and cheer. Communism's preposterous, dangerous, utopian fantasies on the nature of man, as well as how these command-and-control totalitarian ideas actually played out, were responsible for untold death, misery and suffering in the 20th century, on a global scale that dwarfs even the Nazis' atrocities. It's an irony of history to look back and realize that it was Hitler's stupidity and European domination fantasies that paved the way for the Soviet Union's decades-long crushing of those same countries. One or the other was probably bound to control Eastern Europe in the 1940s, and Jewish residents notwithstanding, it's hard to say under whose boot life would have been worse.

Anne Applebaum is a Sovietologist and writer of the highest order. Her massive book "GULAG: A HISTORY" is the definitive study of the Soviet gulag prison system, though I'll admit its breadth and massiveness is what's kept me from actually reading it (so far). For those weirdos among us who delight in histories of postwar realignments, retributions and the birth of the Cold War, the arrival of her "IRON CURTAIN: THE CRUSHING OF EASTERN EUROPE 1944-1956" late in 2012 was a cause for celebration. I made a decision to dig deep within myself and get through this large tome, and thanks to and my long daily commute, I did so. It was a pleasure to "read" it, and it certainly stiffened my spine with regard to my distaste for Communism and for much of the sordid, depressing 20th century.

Applebaum is an excellent relayer of history, and she uses both primary and secondary source material to advance many personal stories of life under Soviet rule in the countries of Poland, Hungary and East Germany during the 11 years following World War II. She chooses those years because 1956, where the book ends, is the year that is popularly recognized as the first true, crushed anti-Soviet rebellion (in Hungary, and to a lesser extent in Poland). She chooses those 3 countries because, well, there were far better and more cohesive-to-a-theme stories there, than if she'd chosen, say, Yugoslavia (in which Tito carved out a repressive and murderous yet anti-Stalin path) or Albania (now where is that again?). Her style is deft, light and non-ponderous, and she does a great job weaving straight history and intense personal stories into several big chapter-long "subjects".

These subjects, all facets of the Soviets' command-and-control crushing of all spheres of Eastern European civil and economic life, are explained in illuminating but rarely boring detail in each chapter. Examples include "Youth" - how the Soviets co-opted or banned existing youth organizations, like scouts, as part of their paranoid desire to eliminate all traces of activity outside of those that glorified Stalin and the goals of Communism. Another chapter is on the ludicrous show trials, with their forced public confessions; another on entertainment (the Soviets actually cracked down mightily on Polish hepcats who danced to American jazz); another on heinous economic blundering via collectivization schemes, and so on.

What's clear is that in the post-WWII chaos, the only thing that was certain is that the Red Army was in these countries, and that they were putatively in charge. How things were actually going to play out was not exactly known, but the Soviets knew. They started a campaign of looting, plundering and then mass arrests that established both their domination and their ruthlessness, all the while lying to the Americans and British about the free societies they would be overseeing. Elections were in fact held in these countries, and for the first few postwar years, they were somewhat free. Yet they didn't quite go the way Mother Russia wanted them to – too many social democrats or "light" Communists, not enough "Little Stalins" to kowtow to Stalin – and they were essentially vetoed in time, via arrests, terror and wholesale changes in election laws until the right people were in charge.

This ugly period was followed by a worse one, "high Stalinism", the years in which Eastern European countries suffered a complete dismantling of their former selves. Lasting until Stalin's death in 1953 and Kruschev's "secret speech" that followed, it is the societal vision that provided the fodder for George Orwell's 1949 classic "1984". One thing Applebaum illuminates extremely well in this book is the importance of civil society – voluntary organizations, entertainment, charities, sporting clubs – that lie beyond state control. The Soviet Union absolutely destroyed and outlawed every facet of it in Poland, Hungary and Eastern Germany, and made daily life for individuals a life in which everything outside of the immediate family unit was 100% defined by the state: where you worked, how you worked, where and how you were schooled, what you did with your leisure time, and so on.

Due to excessive paranoia, the chance of being arrested and thrown into the Gulag, or even executed for crimes real or imagined, was very high – perhaps even if it was a distant family member whose acts brought suspicion upon you. Woe betide you further if you were Jewish in the era during and after high Stalinism; societies that were already anti-Semitic toward the few Jews not murdered during the previous decades were goaded into more vile acts of Jew-hate by their puppetmasters in Moscow, and by the leaders in their own countries doing their bidding. As we know, even after this era, the Soviet-led tyranny of these countries continued for nearly four more grim decades. The opening of the state archives after 1989 was certainly a great gift to history, and to this book.

If you ask me whether Applebaum has any real nuance toward her subject – meaning, does she provide a "counter-argument" to the Soviet Union's stupidity and hideousness – I'd say no, she definitely does not. Neither do I, as it happens, nor should we. American and British paranoia during the Cold War was based upon fact and reality, if played out a bit strangely and in "un-American" ways at times. Marxist ideology had within it that the great revolutions were at hand and were soon to play out in country after country. Stalin did all he could, through terror and initimidation, to bend history to fit the established Marxist narrative. It's a sad epoch that many of us alive actually lived through, though thankfully in my case in the freedoms of the West, and in the final two decades of Eastern Europe's subjegation. 

This book is an essential overview of just how good people like me and my parents had it, living on the soil that we did when we did, without even talking about the United States nor about the west at all. It also underscores how different life might have been for people like my Jewish wife, or my friends or Polish or German descent, had their parents and their parents' parents not emigrated out of Eastern Europe in the years before World War II, and had they even made it into the late 40s and early 50s after years of slaughter and killing. It's abundantly clear that this was truly a rotten time and place to have been alive, and that we ignore how it all played out to our own ignorance and peril.

Monday, July 15, 2013


A book about punk rock in late 70s/early 80s Southern California – absolutely impossible for me to resist. I did hold off for three years on Dewer MacLeod's "KIDS OF THE BLACK HOLE" because, at first flip, it appeared to be a dissertation-level sociological study of suburban evolution in Reagan-era Los Angeles, threaded with warmed-over punk rock history – a history I'm well-familiar with, given that LA punk & its offshoots circa '77-'83 is my favorite era of music anywhere, ever. My initial take on this was not very wide of the mark, I'm afraid, though it was just interesting enough – and I mean just – for me to finish it all the way through. It's not that MacLeod's a poor writer per se, because he's not. He just writes like he's needing to turn this in as a paper to a professor who could never understand the paradigm-busting pleasures of Southern California punk rock, so the book is larded with all sorts of half-baked sociological theory in parts, when it's pretty clear that what MacLeod really wanted to do was give you a slam-bang killer overview of the music he loved and loves.

So what you get is a conventional start-to-finish chronological story of how LA punk developed out of the glitter/glam mid-70s, exploded in Hollywood, branched out to Orange County and the Valley, got violent and faster, and then fizzled out. What bugs me is how much MacLeod relies on second-hand source material, like old Slash Magazines and the oral histories already written about this scene, and adds so little of his own recollections and stories to it. The interviews he quotes aren't, by and large, interviews that he did, but rather interviews from Flipside, or Slash, or NoMag. I mean, that's a book that you and I can write tomorrow, assuming a decent-sized heft to our personal 70s/80s fanzine collections.

I'll admit, there was at least one new-to-me nugget in here that hadn't popped up elsewhere. My pal Jerry from Orange County has told me some pretty hilarious stories of a goony early 80s punk rock gang from the small OC suburb of La Mirada called the "La Mirada Punks" - the "LMPs". They made this book! Hooray LMPs! Chris D. and the Flesh Eaters, one of my all-time faves as well, also merit a couple of short paragraphs, which is a goddamn miracle considering how shut out they've been from previous texts. I truly wish there had been more insider dope and less haven't-I-read-that-somewhere-before moments.

That's not the worst of it, with all due respect to MacLeod. The book will start talking about hardcore punk pit fighting among bandana-wearing morons at TSOL and Adolescents shows, for instance, and then screech to a halt for an overview of gangs in America - "greasers" and Zoot Suit-wearers in the 50s and so on – to put it all in its sociological context. It's boring, it's unconvincing, and again, it reads like a college essay. Then the book gets back on track again with some cool Germs and Black Flag stories or discussions of the Great Punk Scare of 1981, before the cycle repeats itself. In no way would I recommend this book as your intro into LA punk history; for that, I'd follow a path through "Hardcore California", "We Got The Neutron Bomb", "Violence Girl" and the outstanding "Lexicon Devil – The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash". THEN, if you're not satiated – I'm still not, by any means – then you should find a used copy of this one, and approach with caution.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


2013 seems to be the year of excessive hand-wringing about our digital-dominated present. I've indulged in some of it myself. When we're not bemoaning the deaths or slow death pangs of totemic rituals like record store shopping; bookstore browsing; long, contemplative reading; and analog-based cinema, we're fretting that our children are organically moving away from the necessary sorts of book-learning that helped make each of us whom we are today (for better or for worse, right?) - and that we've created a short-attention-span generation that is already rewiring itself into a cohort that's, well, dumber than previous generations. It may all be very much true. I certainly have my worries. Stephen Apkon turns the nervous blabbering into something quite a bit more realistic and hopeful for today's digital denizens; his book title, "The Age of the Image: Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens" truly says it all.

Apkon helped to found the Jacob Burns Film Center in New York City, and teaches both aspiring filmmakers and collaborates with students of the visual form there. He's strongly invested in evolving our understanding of the cultural world in which we find ourselves, and he's an excellent writer and transmitter of both fact and opinion. The first half of his book is exactly what I'd hoped it will be: succor for a nervous digital-age dad that the move toward visual literacy, as opposed to written-word literacy, isn't such a bad thing after all. Apkon confirms and relays much of the recent scientific literature that our brains are wired to accept, understand and retain visual imagery much better than we do the written word. Words on paper, unlike things we can see with our own eyes, either on the Serengeti plain or on YouTube, are a fully human construct. We forced this method of learning and understanding upon ourselves several centuries ago, and yes, it has served us well. Now technology has reached the stage - and the affordability - that we can tell our stories in a manner even more conducive to actual retention and understanding, something that our brains understand, retain and appreciate even more.

As a lover of great film who can easily be brought to tears through a fantastic image or film sequence - I'm thinking right now about the first zoom directly into Liv Ullmann's face when Erland Josephson tells her he wants a divorce in Ingmar Bergman's "Scenes From A Marriage", which made me pause the VHS tape and catch my breath and dab my eyes when I first saw it fifteen years ago - I'm fully bought in to how powerful and incisive the visual image can be in the hands of a great director. Like Apkon, I'm in no hurry to see book-learning die, either. His premise that we all need to understand and appreciate the conventions of visual imagery - how they're made, how they can be manipulated for good and for ill, and what tools are available for each of us to engage in making them - is spot-on, and I'd like to see his manifesto help to prod the educational establishments in each of our respective countries into a modest curriculum shift. I'm sold.

The book took a wicked left turn about two-thirds of the way in that I wasn't expecting at all. Apkon goes full-on professor all of a sudden, and extends his thesis into practical instruction on how to make a film (even if that film is only a 2-minute smartphone video). What is a producer? How do you set up your lighting? What apertures should you consider? That's where I stepped off the book for a chapter or two, in order to rejoin later for the concluding chapters. Perhaps it's because I'm a know-it-all fortysomething who doesn't need nor want to learn how to make a film. Perhaps I'm good enough already at understanding what goes into image-making, even if I don't do it myself. Or maybe I was just looking for a sociological and cultural overview of the state of visual learning and visual technology, and how it compares to our traditional way of understanding literacy, and wasn't looking for a hands-on practicum.

Regardless, I got what I wanted out of this book, and I found it be a very good thought-provoker. Others might approach the book from different angles, and that's good - he's certainly got a couple of different angles from which to approach it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


After a few false starts, I've decided to put together a blog and podcast devoted to raw 20th century ethnic music from around the world, primarily from old 78rpm records, with some room allowed for recordings up into the 1970s. I threw together the first podcast last night, and I figure it's a good time to "launch" the thing now.

The whole purpose for the new Otherworldly and Gone blog is to provide a home for the Otherworldly and Gone podcast, and the first of what will hopefully be many podcasts is now available for download or streaming.

This first edition of the OTHERWORLDLY AND GONE podcast is an hour-long blast of 78rpm tunes from the nether regions of the world - Greece, Kenya, Cuba, Bulgaria, Morocco, Sweden and Azerbaijan among them. I call this one "Curating the Curators" because it's a culling and selection from some of the best reissues of the past two decades, all lovingly put together by some of the most rabid and frothing ethnic music collectors on the planet.

Here's how you can listen!

Download "Otherworldly and Gone #1 – Curating the Curators" here. (follow link, then download on that page)

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
Stream the SoundCloud version (you can also download it there).
Stream the MixCloud version.

Track listing:

1.     A KOSTIS – Dertlidikos Horos / V/A, Greek Rhapsody – Instrumental Music From Greece 1905-1956 / Dust-to-Digital
2.     SPYROS PERISTERIS – Tatavliano Hasapiko / V/A, Greek Rhapsody – Instrumental Music From Greece 1905-1956 / Dust-to-Digital
3.     YIORGOS KATSAROS – Erchome Tico Tico Tico (I Creep Along The Walls) / V/A, Mortika – Rare Vintage Recordings from the Greek Underworld / Arko
4.     MOHAMED BERGAM – Zine Mlih (Sublime Beauty) / V/A, Kassidat – Raw 45s from Morocco / Dust-to-Digital
5.     KARLO – Gankino / V/A, Songs of the Crooked Dance – Early Bulgarian Traditional Music, 1927-42 / Yazoo
6.     GRUPO DE LA ALEGRIA – El Tambor de la Alegria / V/A, Hot Women – Women Singers From The Torried Regions / Kein & Aber Records
7.     UKRAINSKA ORCHESTRA PAWLA HUMENIUKA – Ukrainske Wesilla W Ameryci, Pt. 1 (Ukrainian Wedding in America) / V/A, Aimer et Perde / Tompkins Square Records
8.     UKRAINSKA ORCHESTRA PAWLA HUMENIUKA – Ukrainske Wesilla W Ameryci, Pt. 2 (Ukrainian Wedding in America) / V/A, Aimer et Perde / Tompkins Square Records
9.     MARIKA PAPAGIKA – Manaki Mou / The Further The Flame, The Worse It Burns Me / Mississippi /Canary Records
10.   TEMIUV DAMAROV – Jeirany / Excavated Shellac Blog, February 4th, 2008 / Excavated Shellac
11.   STONIK AND KIPRONO – Molido Kiruk-Yuk / V/A, Opika Pende / Dust-to-Digital Records
12.   EMMANUELE CILIA – L’Istorja ta’Arturo u Maria, Part 1 / V/A, Malta’s Lost Voices / Filfla Records
13.   NICK HALIAS – Mperto Pogonisio (Berat From Pogoni) / V/A, Five Years Married and Other Laments / Angry Mom Records
14.   CHRISTER FALKENSTROM – Baklandets Vackra Maja / V/A, Black Mirror / Dust-to-Digital Records

Monday, July 8, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "MIAMI BLUES" by Charles Willeford

Charles Willeford was an offbeat noir/crime writer whose oeuvre I've been hoping to dive deeper into for years; it's probably been about 20 since I read his "The Burnt Orange Heresy" (1971), which has got to be one of the funniest, most absurd "crime" novels ever written. I also tackled his 50s pure-noir "High Priest of California" and "Wild Wives" hardboilers around that time, and remember them to this day as being quite pleasingly vicious and raw. To the extent that Willeford is known outside (or even inside) the crime enthusiast world, it's for a series he wrote in the 1980s just before his 1988 death featuring a derelict detective named Hoke Moseley, the most famous of which is the first one, "MIAMI BLUES", which was made into a film some time after that and which I just finished reading this past weekend.

I have no hesitation in the slightest pronouncing it as having delivered. Willeford is no Jim Thompson nor Elmore Leonard; both his gumshoes and his criminals are pretty bent, odd characters, and his writing zags off into strange tangents that are ridiculously funny and somehow still an integral if bizarre part of the larger story. 42-year-old detective Hoke Mosely's premature dentures, for instance, get into all sorts of conundrums in this tale, and the story also has some pretty offbeat digressions into the nature of Japanese haiku and all manner of health foods. I obviously haven't read the other three Hoke Moseley novels, but I enjoyed greatly how his personal and find-the-bad-guy story was told only in alternating chapters, and in an only slightly linear fashion as well.

The other alternating chapters are given over to psychopath Freddie "Junior" Frenger and his doofus "platonic wife" Susan Waggoner, whom Freddie meets when she shows up upon his arrival in his Miami hotel room as a prostitute. Freddie has just gotten out of prison in California, see, and his chief aim is to do something big that even he knows will land him in prison again - he's just not sure what. He's a vicious bodybuilding thug whom we only learn about in spurts; most of his action is in real time, as he breaks fingers (sending a Hare Krishna into death by shock), robs people blind, breaks jaws and emotionally & physically abuses Susan. Frenger is on a collision course with Moseley, and even he seems to know it. He decides that his "big splash" is going to be a coin dealer in downtown Miami, and let's just say things don't really go as planned, as crimes planned by psychopathic, prison-lifer muscle-thugs often don't.

Willeford seems to be simultaneously laughing and pointing fingers at the crime genre and spinning a ripping crime yarn at the same time. It's what endeared me so much to "The Burnt Orange Heresy", and much of his same sardonic art is alive and well in this one.