J.C. Ciesielski, Fanbase Press Contributor

J.C. Ciesielski, Fanbase Press Contributor

Deadhorse. Not exactly an enticing name for a location, but hey, this is America. You buy some property, build on it, make it a place on a map, and you can name it any damned thing you like. Blue Ball. Intercourse. Beaver. (All real places.) Hell, you can just Americanize a foreign word or name and change the pronunciation, like the French, "Dubois." It sounds lovely as the maiden name of Blanche in A Street Car Named Desire. 'Dew-bwah.' Now, pretend that you're a giddy, 12 year old who gets a kick from anything that sounds remotely naughty, and you get the name of a lovely, little hamlet in Pennsylvania by the name of . . . wait for it . . . 'DO-BOYS!' The snickering can last for days. The point being, the name of a place doesn't have to coincide with what goes on there, it just helps the place to be remembered at all.

Born into the family business, that's how some describe their occupations. "My father's, father's, father . . . ," so on and so on. Pride can be taken from keeping up the family business. To be so proud that it encourages foolhardiness is a chance one takes with such pride. Many celebrities are driven to such pride and status that they let little things about them out that they wished they hadn't. Those little things snowball until they feel it's their (lucrative) responsibility to let the world know what it's like to step into their lives and see exactly what it's like to be with them. Even if others really with them would like to be kept out of the spotlight. Sometimes, that gives those who would do harm just the edge they need to take the prideful down.

You ever have one of those days where you just wake up in a haze? Not in a "Man, I think I did one Jagerbomb too many" haze, but the kind where you can barely figure out how to work your way out of the sheets. Our protagonist, the 'firefighter,' comes to in a similar fashion, he just needs to work his way out of a body bag. Trying to scrape the scum off his brain and clear it out until he can remember what he's supposed to be doing that day, he wanders through the street to the local bank to grab some cash. He remembers. Barbeque. Gotta buy provisions, plus there's the chance the hot bank teller is working today. Then, of course, the bank gets held up. Ain't it always the way? There are a few things with which you never interfere a man. Don't mess with his money, don't be a C-blocker, and don't get in the way of his hunger. Especially that last one. You never can tell what a man might do when his life and hunger are backed against a wall. Even if he's dead.

Someone sits across from you on the bus or at the bar. Walking down the street, you pass by that certain someone in the neighborhood who has always seems "off" to you in some way. As you intersect, just as the opportunity has all but diminished, you glance up to see them inspecting you out of more than just the corner of their eye. There is always that person. That person that views the world the same as you, but maybe the details are what doesn't match up, or they are catching something you chose not to notice. That's the feeling Milk for the Ugly elicited from me. Then again, who's to say that's what it wants.

"The saying goes: 'Everybody loves a clown.'" Thus, the opening line of Clown by author James Maddox encapsulates the tone of his story, the way an overture gives a brief taste of the entire piece without giving away the nuance and detail which follows as the story unfolds.

. . . then she swung her blade, as if her life (which it did) depended on it. Vincent used his resources to more than their abilities. He commanded . . . Apologies. It just struck me that some of you have not been introduced to Creepy Scarlett or the graphic novel that borrows her name. Let's give you a quick recap, if you haven't yet been introduced.

Or a better question, am I getting to be the cranky curmudgeon that complains, "They don't make good music anymore!" To be honest, (a rare treat, so enjoy it!), I've cut back on my Top 40 listening over the years. Personally, I'm not enjoying the stuff I hear, and I'd give those stations more of a chance if they would at least play a wider array of crap. Top 40 became "Top 15 whose labels pay the best." Pay for Play has been around since the first commercial radio station hit the airwaves. I truly wish record labels, especially the ones with a few spare bill laying around, would sack up and lay down some cash to some artists that aren't just on the air 'till they can make the transition to their true passion, reality T.V. I'd plea for radio stations to at least give their listeners an hour or two devoted to new, non-cookie cutter music. One band I could suggest for that format would be SLIG.

"Welcome to Best Buy, what type of music do you like? Can I suggest some bands for you?"

Words you well never hear.

Let's assume for this article that J.C. stands for "Jaded Curmudgeon." Even if you were to shop for music at a store that doesn't require employees to wear name tags (assuming you want to leave the house and get a physical format), the best you may get would be a friendly, "Are you finding everything all right?" How can you find what you're looking for if you don't know what it is? You want something new that fits your tastes, but trying to describe it to someone who doesn't care about music is a bust. Maybe I can help.

Back before Pandora or Spotify told you who you would enjoy listening to based off of your current listening selection, well, there was this guy. This guy hung around record shops, clubs, and concert venues and waxed on and on about this band and that, coaxing out tidbits of your personal music preference, then suggested bands or tracks to check out on the merit of his knowledge of music, and not some "what people who listen to X also like Y" formula created to sell shampoo and acne cleaner to music (or what sometimes passes for music) listeners. I miss those guys. Occasionally, you still run into folks who can pass along a good suggestion or two, but it's a hard line to follow when it's so easy to submit to the ease that is musical complacency.

Love is in the air at Fanboy Comics! In this magical month of romance and enchantment, the FBC Staff and Contributors decided to take a moment to stop and smell the roses. In the week leading up to Valentine's Day, a few members of the Fanboy Comics crew will be sharing their very personal "Love Letters" with our readers, addressed to the ones that they adore the most.

To the Clowns in the Sky,

Space. The Final Frontier. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Too far away for me, and I have little patience to sit through a history lesson. I prefer my sci-fi to take place in a not-too-distant future (possibly next Sunday, A.D.) way down in a place called Deep 13. Do I need Vaders and Mauls when I can have Forresters and T.V.'s Franks? Why deal with Klingons around Uranus or 1000 Falcons when I can hang out with the gang of the S.O.L. (Satellite of Love)? Why bother with an effeminate golden droid with a bad British accent or a blue and silver extra large suppository that won't speak in the same language as everyone else? Or a whiny farm boy, a smug smuggler, or an even more smug Captain? I prefer the likes of robots made from spare parts by a man trying to stave off insanity by loneliness and depression from being exiled by evil overlords. Or as many call them . . . bosses. This is the life I'm more partial towards, spending my days cracking wise on crap movies with a couple of robots. It's the American dream.

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