So, made three machines. Two Dietzel irons, liner and shader, which will either be headed to the UK, or sold to the highest bidder here.
Also I figured "what the Hell? I love dangerous chemicals", so I aged an old brass frame of more than slightly dubious origin, making what I like to call ny Dirty Old Salt finish.
All have silver contact screws and are nickel plated, then rubbed down in a sealing waxm except for the new/old brass. Prices are very reasonable too. Starting at $200, and far more classy than many I`ve seen. In my opinion anyway.
So take a ganders, goose! Or ganders... Geese?
Oh no. I`m all confused.
“Hey Grady,” Cap’n Sven, who also happened to have a phone, “You know that big gorilla? What’s his name? The guy from St. Louis.”
Grady was eating an egg salad sandwich and took a huge bite, savoring the taste. Goddamn, he thought to himself, she sure can make an egg salad.
It was a balmy day, getting ready to go into summer season. It was a time full of promise for every vendor, talker, attraction and tattoo artist alike. For the cold gray winter in the city would lift its icy grip and the sun would shine forth once again. Grady was happy for it too, and had closed his winter quarters on the Island, and come out to Sand Street to get some sun, see some pretty girls and give these Brooklyn tattooers a run for their money.
Grady made a nervous face and glanced out the glass. It was ten in the morning, and Grady had no there yet. “So, what does this fella want?”
It was Sven’s turn to make a face. He did, and stuck a wad of chewing tobacco into his cheek, “Said you were going to sell to him, or he was going to kill you.”
“I think you should sell,” Sven added and he believed it too.
“Naw…,” Grady’s mind ran like a top and he was already almost there with it.
He knew he didn’t have much time.
He asked a leading question, “You like me, Cap’n? “
“I do,” And Sven meant that too.
“You should come down here and start a fight with me, but you gotta lose,” Grady was smiling, “Bring the shine boy too, I reckon.”
Conrad Miller was 250 pounds, tattooed everywhere but his face, neck and hands. His reputation in St. Louis was one of ruthlessness. He was a violent man, a dangerous man, but only with guns. He was bully, and had found his way to the Rats. He loved intimidation, which is why he they were so eager to get him.
He was lousy the work. He’d been taught, brought through it kicking and screaming the right way by State Street Stan, and even he couldn’t teach this “rube” the ropes. “I fear for the next generation of saps getting tattooed,” He shook his head, “They may as well go to a butcher.”
Butcher he was too. It wasn’t that killed so many people, nor that he liked waving the gun around. How he killed people was grisly. He like guns and knives, but what he liked to do was play “One man boxing match” and he would wear heavy leather workman’s gloves with knuckles on the outside. Or he would break bones working his way up to a lead pipe or bat to the head.
He stomped down the block Eddie Williams and Ed Lang. He smoked fast, readying himself to shoot this white trash Tennessee yokel in the head to make his point. He hoped it wouldn’t come to that. In fact, Conrad didn’t want to tattoo. He knew he was awful. There was no two ways about it. He liked the money, the women, and life of it more then he liked killing. Not by much though.
“You think I’ll have to kill him?” Conrad pronounced kill, keel.
Eddie Williams looked at the hulking brute as he walked to his left. He knew Miller was dumb and his trip to New York he knew, he just knew, was going to be ruined by him. Now here they were, off on some goddamn tangent, some idea that Connie hadn’t thought through.
“I don’t know,” Eddie Williams said, “You know this might go better back home.”
“S’All the same!” Con said, “Fuck these guys. We’ll take their money too!”
Eddie rolled his eyes.
Tall, dapper, the genial bank and mail truck robber wasn’t paying much attention to Con or Lang. He swiveled his head looking at the ladies as he passed He was a tattooer too, and now he was nervous. He’d known Grady from the road, and didn’t want to lead on. The last thing Grady needed was Connie trying to get Eddie to convince Grady to sell.
Eddie know you couldn’t convince the man of anything. His only option as he saw it was to put an elaborate act, feigning fear at the site of the man.
On the other side of Connie Lang was just as steamed. All he had wanted to was to go to the beach, something he had never done before. He was all ready to go when Connie, half drunk at 9AM rousted Eddie and him for this screwball venture.
Grady and Sven sat in the shop, quietly eyeing each other.
“This is dumb,” Sven said in his Swede accent, “You’re going to hurt me bad.”
I’m just going to rough you up. Now take this,” Eddie handed Sven a condom, filled with a dark red ink.
“Just pop this rubber after I pull a punch,” Sven made a face at that.
“What?” Grady said exasperated, “You want me to kill ya?”
He shrugged. “I just don’t want to get hurt is all,”
Grady slapped him on the arm, “Aw Sven, It’ll be alright.”
It was then that Grady, keyed up to near war time survival mode that the shoe shine boy came in, “They’re coming!”
And like a shot the kid was out of the shop, across the street and in to the alley behind a few garbage cans.
Connie threw open the door of the shop a moment later and Grady, not having enough time to say anything, hit Sven hard in the face. Sven hadn’t the time to get the prophylactic up to his nose, but at least he turned his head fast enough to avoid his nose being broken. Grady’s fist crashed into Sven’s left eye socket. It imeadatly began to swell.
Sven and Grady turned to look at the gangsters. Grady began to reach into the back of his pants.
“Sons of bitches! I know why you come here. No one is taking my shop. If you want it,” Grady pulled an ACP from his belt, “I swear you’ll clean my blood up before you reopen. Hey Rube!”
Eddie Williams stood there, knowing Grady had noticed him by the last part of that statement, which had gone right past Connie.
Williams dug under his arm.
“Fucking asshole!” Sven yelled and stumbled out the door holding his face. The shoe shine boy came out of the alley and helped the now wounded, swearing artist back to his shop.
Grady leveled the gun at the three. “Now come on boys, what’s gonna be?”
Connie looked nervously right and left.
“Don’t look over her, honey,” Lang said to him.
Eddie agreed, “You got that right. I told you REAL tattooers were hard.”
“Godddamn right!” Grady shouted, pulling back the hammer and giving Eddie a look that almost cost them the whole game.
Lang was happy because at this point it was early enough in the day to get to Brighton Beach and his suit was in the car back at the hotel.
Connie stood, shuffling his feet for what seemed like an eternity.
“Alright!” Grady shouted, bringing the dumb hood out of his natural stupor for a moment, “You better get it out of here NOW. GIT YER ASSES OUT OF MY SHOP!”
Grady fired a .45 caliber slug into the ceiling and that was enough for the three Midwest criminals scattering for the door. As they hit the street, Eddie began to laugh. “What in the fuck are you laughing at?” Connie asked.
Williams shrugged, “We made it out alive. I thought we were going to get shot full of holes.”
Connie was seething as they walked down the block. “Goddamn city, who needs it?”
“A men,” Lang said and after a moment said, “So you boys want to go to the beach?”
“Yeah! Girls,” He nudged Connie, “Whatcha say Connie? Ladies?”
“Eh,” Con grumbled and they began to walk away from the shop.
Grady sat down in his chair and took a long breath. He put his head in his hands and began to shake. Shaking with laughter. He hopped up, and ran to the front of the shop, he leaned out the door a watched the already far away men disappear. With that over, he got on the phone. Sven had a steak on his eye, and was bemoaning the situation to the barber he worked with. Hearing the phone ring he got up and answered.
Grady was on the other end. “Ah, the smartest man in the city. What the fuck was that all about? My fuckin’ face is huge! I thought you had a plan?”
Grady was quiet. “I did!” He got loud, “It just changed and I didn’t have time to tell you.”
“You’re a lousy bum,” Sven said quietly.
“Well Hell! Everyone knows that,” The carny was always one to make fun of himself.”
“Guess I owe you now?” Grady asked?
“Bet your ass you do,” Sven groaned, “My eye is as big as my head.”
“Does it look better?” Grady asked.
Sven, to spite how angry he was and the now swollen ocular, began to laugh.
“Rotten bastard…” He said.
“I know it,” Grady said, “Figure I owe you a few drinks, OK?”
“OK,” Sven said.
The bell on the door jingled and Grady saw a very attractive female step into the shop. “I gotta trim the sails, good bye Sven.”
Grady hung up the phone.
Turning he saw a young woman, the one that had made the egg salad.
“Can I help you, miss?” He asked with the best he could muster.
“Maybe,” she said smiling, “I brought another sandwich.”
Grady was sure he would enjoy the rest of the summer there.
My car having taken a dump I have been paying a close friend/client to drive me around until I find a ride that suits my coolness. There are quite a few options, but sadly the 1943 Willies Jeep was off the table, as was the Fat Boy. Trying to score some normal guy points with the lady took her out for Mexican. By cab no less! Romantic! Really!
Back when I was younger there were only a few Mexican places around, and all were Tex-Mex. I have no problem with that as my old bassist’s family always does a big Tex-Mex spread May 5th, but after I had the real stuff I was hooked.
For those of you with real Mexican restaurants please excuse the gush.
The family that runs the joint is from Michoacán, one of the more dangerous places down there at the moment. I haven’t spent too much time down there, but I’ve been there enough times to tell that this place was going to be legit. As it was.
Of course I get a beer and half way through I have me an anxiety attack. I try not freak out too bad. I was smart enough to get to the hospital when I first had them, so I know what they are, and what I can do to limit the things. Hate them though, really panicky, racing thoughts, the whole nine.
She knows I have them and that I’m trying my best to still play the tough guy, so she gives me a look and I get up to walk outside. For any of you who have these things, the great outdoors helps. Not me though. No, nicotine helps me, so I wander out and light up a smoke. I sit down on bench and lean my head back, late afternoon sun (Yes, I took her to an Early Bird) on my skin. I take a deep breath, and think about something calming. Soft shading. Old jazz. Atomic weapons. The Middle East.
And hear this puttering noise. It’s a smaller sound than I VW Bug, so I look up and there is this little cart. It was like a golf cart I would have, nothing frilly about it. Real engine too. Behind the wheel a guy in his early 50s and at shotgun, his lady.
I’m looking at the thing and he says, “Hey man” and asks me if I like it.
“I do, what is it?” I ask and he raises his left arm, and points exposing a vivid Chinese dragon, green, yellow, great color blending. Just a bit of orange to make it pop out, very refined old school. Suffice to say I still don’t know what that vehicle is.
I missed the whole thing.
“Who did that dragon?”
The guy nods to me, “That’s ancient.”
“I dig it man. Who did it?”
He was either messing with me, or he had no clue about the proliferation of tattoo and tattoo related things that are around him every day. Either way he could see I was interested, and who do people like to talk about more than themselves? “I got it done in Ohio. Some guy named Lyle Tuttle.”
“Tuttle is a big name,” I said.
“Yeah?” The guy said.
“Sure is,” I shook his hand, “thanks for talking to me. I always say something when I see a good one.”
He walked back inside. I followed, rejoined my lady and finished dinner.
Pays to ask, you know? I’ve run into people with crazy stories. Some of them I’m sure are BS, and others I’m sure are not. I talked to an old cat who swore up and down that ABC Hank and Danny Danzl had down his ink in Seattle. One guy told me that Frenchy did his two in Denver. Another old cat told me he went to Wagner, “The best.” I also had a paranoid schizophrenic named Mike tell me Doc Webb had it in for him.
“Webb has been dead since 1986,” I said, trying to find an out.
“Doesn’t matter,” Mike said in a voice so serious it makes me wonder, “He still after me.”
So you can get some strange answers too.
What's more creepy than the malevolent, disembodied spirit of Doc Webb? I'll tell you. I checked my bill at the Mexican place. Great deal for the money, but they charge you for after dinner mints!
10 Cents a piece for mints.
In the past month I’ve paid for two extracted wisdom teeth, a pound of hamburger that went bad, a pound of chicken, set a date for my wedding, got punched in the face by my crazy dad, so I decided to get drunk and write this. I’m on drink two. If you’re going to write while you’re blasted, don’t start out sober. Now that’s stupid.
If you’re smart have one or two then get going. Reason being is you need to have some focus. One thing I learned in high school when I thought that some sort of latter day Lester Bangs swilling cough syrup and charging forth on term papers and book reports was cool. Well it wasn’t, and being the teen aged drunk I turned to… what was in the house. Scotch, Dewar’s, fine stuff now, but to my weak, un liquor trained body it was awful, so I mixed it with sour.
I’m on drink three now.
Tell you another thing while I’m at it. You think to yourself, “Oh the guy playing music up there is drunk, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t playing killer!”
It’s called practice. Yes, band’s practice, but it’s important to know your limits, which is what practice is for. I know now that any form of liquor and Gator Aid is recipe for disaster. The booze/sugar/sugar/electrolytes and whatever the Hell else they put in there will kill you almost. Or that if you funnel 32 beers, you’re gonna pass out, but then you gotta walk home. Or that if someone says,” I got some ___________. Who wants some?” You say no.
Drink four, keep ‘em coming.
I tell you what I DON’T like to do when I’m drunk. I hate tattooing. I detest it. I’ve done it once, no, not again. Not that it isn’t fun to tattoo. But I get bored, I want another beer. I want a smoke. I want to walk around. I want to eat the worm. I want to wake up naked in the back yard with one shoe on and no sock, and one sock on and no shoe. And the dog was licking me.
Drink 5, you know what I like about you?
I’ll tell you. You’re reading this, that’s why. One day, maybe when I’m dead and gone and in Potter’s Field in the damned Bronx with Charlie Wagner (And I’d bet my life Apache Harry) some of you might even get a giggle out of it. Or a titter.
Can you say titter here?
You think you’re better than me, don’t you? With all your fancy art school training? You’re not my dad! I don’t have to take this. Ernie! Gimmie another drink, and a Shirley Temple for these… this…
(Sobbing) I’m sorry. I love you guys. If I had a nickel for every time I said it… Let me share a cab with you home.
Can you pick up the fare?
(All correct spelling and grammar brought to you through the power of MS Office.- ED) (not Horton)
It never ceases to amaze me what people have to get into to fess up. When the phrase “the truth will set you free” comes more from the mouth of a torturer than the sage, people clam up. No this isn’t an introduction to my new tell all “How to Tattoo in 10 Easy Steps, With Pictures, and Sweep up the Place”.
What I was getting at was this; in an odd way, the anonymity of this whole internet thing has made this blog a sort of confessional. I say things on this blog that would never say to a client. I’ve probably said a few things that I wouldn’t say to my mom.
I’m almost 35. Half way to 40. Call it a half assed milestone. These days I think I’m playing my cards close enough to the vest where I don’t have to be a crabby asshole. Far from being the big shit, the BEST, I’ve realized that the rat race is for the birds. The BEST, as said by other artists vs. the people inked, is either way subjective. It’s sort of like watching the linesmen in a Sunday football pointing and telling the ref who has the ball.
Like anyone would listen to a guy who eats a pizza before every game and his every third sentence starts with, “Coach says…”
(For the record, I played right guard in high school before finding out I had asthma, and promptly gave it up for the dusty, oft weird trail that led me to these here irons)
At least those linesmen call it like they see it, and I’m sure you get more honesty from them then from a guy or gal who charges less since you didn’t want green in it.
I wasn’t in town for ________________________ (put your December holiday here, & I’ll avoid the ACLU, thank you very much) so my end of the year was spent driving to see my Mom, who left my Dad before Thanksgiving.
Abuse. 37 years of it. I’m glad that storm has subsided. I weathered it too.
We drove up to I-10 on 75, then north into Alabama, Mississippi, and to a small town a few hours from Memphis where my mom is from. A little place, pretty well untouched by the 21st century, with the exception of the bypass, which destroyed the commerce of the old Court Square, and a little street shop with Harleys outside.
The history, civil war, civil rights, the old cars, bbq, fireworks; I shook off the sunshine state crap and began to see things differently. I relaxed, saw rivers (including Tombigbee! Say it out loud, go on. It’s fun) and talked to people who were friendly enough to take the time to talk.
I even sang along with the Meat Puppets on the mp3 player.
I grew up in a tourist town. Right by the ocean no less. The place was in a constant state of flux, the motion making the heat all the more intense. Along with the fluidity of the tourist season there was also a chaos factor (a broken down minivan from Texas in the right lane, drunk tourists falling off of balconies at the time share)… and static.
Like a lot of the people I know for a long time I was static too.
For those who were from there, and I was one of the few born and bred that I can think of offhand, the feeling of being mired, bogged down, static, was terrible. Swallowed up by hidden quicksand in the dunes.
And it’s completely full of BS, which goes without saying. It maybe coastal, but it’s just a small southern town. Cliquish. Pretentious. Awful.
Truth is though (HEY! He made it back to his point!!! YAY! Chalk one up for continuity!), is I’m past it now. Not just the trip, but the places I’ve been since I took tattooing up full time, have changed me. I look on the former classmates who congregate at the bar and slap backs, telling stories of football games of yore, with a faint smile. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be stuck in the past that much.
Walking backwards in flip flops is for morons.
This year finds me better off, content, with a wonderful lady, and, if I were a religious guy, “thankfully” sober. Enough stuff to build heap big pile of machines too!
It’s new though, that’s for sure. My family isn’t the same. I’m not the same. It’ll never be the same…
It never is. It’s an illusion that it is, so I’m making the best of it. No resolutions, except I need more fireworks in my life.
This was a bit of a ramble to read I guess, very sorry. I try to be funny and you can only yuck it up so much. You might bust a rib, or at least strain yourself. Sometimes, dear reader, introspection creeps in, even for a lunk like myself.
“Introspection? About what, Gloomy?” You ask.
I’m not gonna tell you.
A few months back I got a tattoo for my Mom. Its a Bert Grimm Rose of No Man's Land. My mom is a saint, putting up with a ton shit her entire life, only to end up with a miscreant, tattooing son.
Of course, I'm not the one with the half bottle of liquor induced brand on my arm with shitty blurry, blown out lines tattooed around it.
I am the guy who did the brand and lame tattooing however.
I was living in a band house, this squallid, non air conditioned place. Bad plumbing, bad roof, and the only thing holding it up was termite tunnels. The bathroom looked like Albania in 1968. The walls were covered in tar paper and spray painted along with most everything except for the drum kit.
We'd had no loot, as bills were due, and more sad to say nothing of important, not a stem or seed of pot for two weeks. We were all just a little bit on edge. I had got the jones to tattoo way back, going as far as to donate some money to a few fly by nighters that I thought were good people, so's I could come up "the right way".
You can teach a chimp to cut stencils and I got to work on pig. Badly. The only skill I think I ever really showed on the floor of that shop was dealing with people. I was not prepared for the relentless onslaut of a bassist from Kentucky wanting me to brand him.
Don't ask me what motivated him to do it, or for me to resist for three years. I tell you one thing though, after a broke, dry two weeks, plopping down a bottle of Cuervo, a pack of unfiltered Camels, and a bag... you now have swayed me.
"Yeah, fine," I muttered, "I'll fuckin' do it then."
We built a fire. It was a few weeks after 9/11 and it rained for eight days after that non sense here, we were safe from the fire truck guys.
The guy I was doing this DIY body mod on is a close friend, and impulsive as all getout. I noticed we didn't have an iron. "what are going to stick you with? DESIGN?"
He pulls out a mauled coat hanger, "Its a ying yang."
An hour later the fire is red hot embers and I put the iron in. We wait for another 30 minutes, the bassist clenches a towel in his teeth, wraps his arm around the plles for the clothes line and I took ten long steps.
His teeth made audible snap, his face contorted, the skin blistered, singed and seared in the night air. "Ohmyfuckingfuckmybassistisgonabeatmydumbfacein!" I thought to myself.
A cop lived next door, and he stepped out, the back door slamming when he realized it was just us.
So the bassist is all jazzed, but the ying looks like a big, lop sided J, which was his first initial. So even that was OK. But here is the best part.
We're wasted a few hours later. His ex walks out of the back of the house. We're pie eyed, fucked up, and she takes a few sniffs, "Why does it smell llike bacon in here?"
Bolstered by this, smart me built a tattoo rig, out various household items, and wouldn't you know who wanted their brand LINED? So retard unsafe septic, this Jagger blew out a twisted mess of lines that this week I will finish untangling, after more than ten years.
It stuns me I still have friends. And without Hep C too.
I've read a whole lot of tattoo history books. Talk about arcane, right? Its true and I've found a few good ones as well. First person accounts are always the best. Sure you can get more then a little BS in there. But you can BS anywhere.
So, since you're reading my BS, I'll tell you about this here Wear Your Dreams, by some little fella named ED Hardy.
Really though, all joking aside, between my normal chaos, my tatooing (which I been doing more of) & drawng I read this. Not only did I do that, but I did a digital download. (ooH. aaH.)
My fiance was beaming, like mother watching her son try to stab his eye out with a spoon, "Oh Gus. You may make it to the 21st century one day."
"Not likely," I muttered.
So Hardy can weave a tale, and an interesting, fast paced one too. Besides the artsy (what do I know about lithography? Nothin'. But you never know...) and a few things left out that only I would have cared to read, I enjoyed the damned thing. Envisioning car seat covers and all, I found myself laughing .
You might too. My sense of humor can be dark, so maybe not at the same things.
Since we all know that Sparrow and Collins show up it was interesting to get an art school perspective on a few of the old timers. Painless Nel and Old Doc Webb are mentioned, along with a roll call, a host, a cavalcade of names. You got Doc, yer Zeke, yer Rollo, Shanghai Kate, Chuck Eldridge, a whole mess of criminals, weirdos, and Thom DeVita.
Just like any tattoo bio, there are loves and hates, dislikes, and all sorts of madness. This was no different but it had pictures too! Some... in color.
I'm on the fence, which is giving me terrible pain in my ass neck, as to if this book is the GREATEST TATTOO BIO OF ALL TIME, I can say that it was a fun read and the mention of Ray Pettibone warmed the cockels of this crazy old punk's heart. I also thought of Black Flag and Ed Hardy occupying the same space (not a place per se, but a "plane") and then my brain started hurting because I had no cigarettes or coffee.
So yes, for the Zeke Owen stories alone, buy this book. Or steal it. I'd figure with all the shoes they won't miss one or two. I'M JOKING! DON'T STEAL. We must keep Mr. Hardy insweaters.
Ug. These typos. This phone. Oy vey!
With the posters, hooka smoke, rum, hair grease, bottles of wine and funny business that has engulfed the tattoo, as if a thick glob of O2 sucking petrolium jelly its nice to think back to a time when disease, lawless toughs, drunk, toothless jaggers doing their best to get a bottle of cheap wine to fend off the shakes.
Sam Steward was a professor of literature, deeply alcoholic, and had realesed two books,as well as meeting many luminaries in the world of the word. However Stewart wanted out of teaching, badly, and lept from an ivy covered wall right down to the gutter of Chicago's State Street. Having kicked the booze with AA, he bought a tattoo trunk from an old circus tattooer name of Micky Kellett, and began a trade that brought him into contact with a world alive with vice.
Taking, slowly, the chair of Randy Webb, in the filthy archade in the most dangerous section of the street, he fought off the cops, drunks, perverts, navy boots, and encountered all manner of loony toon activity. His college teaching years had not trained him for this, but under Nom De Machine as Phil Sparrow, put his name on the map, and trained Ed Hardy and mentored Cliff Raven.
Since I can't hold a pen to Phil's writing, and I'm too lazy to get my computer out so's I'm doing this on my phone, I'll give you some highlights!
Phil's list of prices for bothering him.
Webb's rewiring the transformer and his five legged tigers.
Tatts Thomas as the Preacher.
Criminals, johns, tricks, lesbians, sailors, human skulls and MORE!
Sparrow quit in the early '70s and morphed again, becoming Phil Andros, writer of gay S&M and rough trade paperbacks. Alfred Kinsey, the famed sex researcher, had Sparrow as a close contact. Kinsey in mentioned in this book, along with one of Sparrow's "lists". The full details of Steward/Sparrow/Andros' sexual research is born out in a book about him, Secret Historian.
So if you like grit. If you like danger. Violence, humor, you'll find this book a fine read, right up with Stoney Knows How. Want the realnsights, smells, the sinking feeling that there is no way out of this alley, this is close as you're gonna get.
Unless you buy crack.
You don't do you?
Of course not.
"My fuck," I groaned, sweating, "I'll never get out of the weeds."
I rolled over, blinking, and saw my lady looking at me. "You alright?" She asked.
"Yeah. Bad dream," The light of 3AM being way bright for me.
"Bad?" She as always had to fish for it.
"Work dream," I grunted.
I've never met a woman more supportive of my endevors, and she even backs me on the crazy ones. A rare and kind person I am lucky to have met. I have been working on my machine building quite a bit these days and I must admit, I haven't set up a machine in a few months.
"Was it one of your "I'll never catch up?" dreams?" She should be a therapist.
"How'd you know?" I asked.
Corection, she should have been a spy.
"I heard you have that one last week. A "MOTHERFUCKER!" woke me."
"Sorry," Said the Gloomy Man.
She put her hand on my face. "You need to tattoo. It's your passion."
"Baby, fuck those machines for right now," She added.
She was, as she most often is, right. So today I spent a while playing my upright bass, packed up my building supplies, and pulled out my now very dusty, cheap, shitty Harbor frieght box full of machines and began what turned into a tuning session. And a visit with old co-conspiritors. Got me to thinking about my clients passed.
So tomorrow I figure, what the Hell. Maybe I'll do a few.
My lady and I just got cable, and cable internet, which is why you get to read more of my stuff. Lucky you. Yeah, huh?
I'll not watch Ink Masters. Just won't happen. I got burned by tattoo shows long ago, and once bitten, last time on the channel. I'll give 'em a shot for a few minutes, but then I see pin striping cars, and I hate it.
But ya know, I'll watch shows where they do cover ups all damned day long. I guess its the people person in me. What is tattooing if not the hardest of all the customer service positions; "I really like the weight of these lines," Machine buzzing away, "Goddamnit! Quit moving around or I'm gonna fuck you up!"
So we're digging the show, and I can't keep track of time. Dates seem to be a recurring "I don't give a shit" subject, time however never seems to come up. It does with me though. I have to make conscious effort to keep track of things like when I need to be places, or when I have a some poor deluded dummy who likes me stick figures with a lemniscate that pass for pin ups with huge hooters. I do pretty good too, so hey. Sometimes though, I just lose it. Five hours or five minutes? I'll have no idea and I look up, shit, it's 5 AM.
So this ad comes on for Ink Masters. Fer one, just cause you have tattoos, don't make you an expert Dave Navarro. What's really funny is that I almost called him Dave Grohl. I like the man's guitar playing, but he 'effed up a whole Chilli Peppers record. Never mind that.
Oliver Peck. Oh, little Oliver. What an angry, shitty little guy you are to people. I mean, I know it was hard when you came up, and it must not have been easy. But settle down man! Calm yourself. And I like toothpicks as much as the next guy. You're at Sizzler though, and that is one of the few places I'll walk out with a tooth pick. Just smoke. Do it. Take your pills too.
I didn't notice who the third judge was this season, so someone is spared my wrath.
The ad goes on. And on. And, AHHAAHAHHAHAHHHAHHAHAHA!, it's still on. "Are we watching this?"
"Yes, we are," My lady says.
"Please turn it...," I say.
"Can't," She replies.
I'm getting agitated.
"The remote is in front of you," I turn to look at the chair that we use for a table.
It is, in fact, on the chair.
I turned it.
So I saw a whole minute. At least.
Don't get too freaked out, or too happy (take your pick there. Love for the Gloomy one, or hate so richly deserved? Just no apathy. It's the worst. I'd take disappointment over that!) since I have not given up crumbing arms for a living.
"Well ya silly fuck, what's with the fake news? Not having one of those crazy spells again, I hope?"
My lady and I live in a really fucked, scary place. Right over the fence is the hood. And when I say over the fence, it's a well jumped chain link deal that does not stop bullets. Seems every second or third Saturday night there is just a butt-ton of shooting. The only saving grace was that my lady, knowing how freaked I get by anything with feathers or hair, got me one of those tactical tomahawk things, and didn't even bat an eye when I came home tonight, "Honey! I got a new Ka Bar!"
Our complex is so damned bad that I had to do some serious acting when we first got here. I found this guy Pete. Pete has this tiger... OK, lemme back up. Pete was standing out front when we first moved in. We didn't talk, I just saw his tiny little head and my mind blurred to Browning's Freaks, and Stoney and rat poop, backwards soldered needles on the bar...
So one night I come walking out and there is Pete, big 'ol bottle of vodka in his hand. "Hey man, I like those tattoos," He says, stealing my line.
I'm polite, so what was I to do? I took a drink. Handed the bottle back. Pete said, "I used to go to prison a lot. I know how to tattoo.
(For the record any thing over two years sentence in the state of Florida is a trip to prison, not county jail. Unless you're being held for trial, and then that's a whole other different thing. So "used to go to prison a lot" doesn't fill me with the kind of confidence that say, would have me bring this guy into my home. To say nothing of line of sight of the medicine cabinet)
I know where to pick up a strong case of Hep C, I thought.
"Is that a tiger?" I pointed to kinda hashy, bad lined, but just in under the seven second rule, tattoo.
"Yeah man, but he fucked the face up!"
Well, no shit. "Sorta looks like a Tazmanian Tiger, really," I said, "I can fix that up ya know."
Now he wants. And he wants some tattoo machines, needles (but they don't have to be clean), and a few deep cell batteries. So I scared the living shit out of him. When you talk to criminals Henry Hill was right, no swearing, no threats. I was just vague as Hell and LO, some how I got a lot of cred with this guy, who I still have not, nor will I tattoo.
The CC as we call it is so awful, that all it needs is a tire fire. There have been three murders and robbery/rape since we got here. My woman says, "Don't go out at night!"
It was one of those things though, had to go, had to walk, and there was no way getting around it. So grab my cane, and don't let it fool ya, I may be illin', but don't even mess with me the stick, and start walking. When I get up to the front part of the complex, there is the "legit" gang guys standing out there, and I hear one of them go, "Tattoo. I know he's got loot."
Or something like that.
I get ready to shit and run as fast as I can... and a long ambles Pete!
"Don't fuck with that man," He said very loud so I could here it too, "He a good man. Kind man. And a HARD man. You're going to get hurt."
"Thanks Pete," I thought and got to the store and back in one piece.
I said "legit" gang as we have a group of young, well, Young Tattooed Boys. The YTB. I know because I saw graffiti one night that said just that. I was to say the least, unimpressed. Not my kind of people for one. I did the 'hood thing when I was young. Two, Young Tattooed Boys?
What, is there a male review? Chippendale's called and failed your audition. You're a terrible male stripper and you need to get your GED.
"Yo dog, they call me Magic Mike."
(I punched myself in the eye for that, don't worry)
Since I am sick, I just sit around all day. So I'm out front one afternoon. I'm relaxing, smoking an unfiltered Camel that scored from my bro Marty from Long Island who hates Manhattan. Up comes two of them, and as they go up the stairs I hear one say, "Man, fuck those two..."
"Shut it, ya little faggot, " And I sat, waiting.
Marty told me he wanted a piece too.
Nothing. Silence. Stayed that way too, until I came home from getting a tattoo late one night.
Out on the front of our building is a veranda, public, and here are four YTB, with two more down in the parking lot. Wouldn't you know it, the ones in the parking lot are running dope. "Fuck this. We're getting out of here," I muttered.
I get up the stairs. "Tattoo! Hey bro, you tattoo?" I'm asked by this dumb looking kid with this real dense, heavy black and gray that'll have him looking much like the young d bag he once was when he's older.
"Not your bro. And I'm retired," I light a cigarette.
"Retired?" The littlest thug asked.
"Not retarded. Retired, yes I am." (Big thanks to Sailor Ned, who's long been dead, for the attitude I've been having! See Ned here:
" )"Wanna smoke a blunt?" I'm asked.
I groan, "No. I don't and you all are morons for smoking out here."
In can tell I'm making the shortest, and most heavily tattooed pissy. Why? Cause I called him a name.
"What's your deal man?" He asks, "Why you got so little respect?"
About two years ago I found out why my 91 year old grandfather smiles, closes his eyes and shakes his head. Because people are morons.
"Cause your buddy here called me Tattoo. If you don't mind..."
"We do," He said.
I had my gun as I always carry in the car, but it's a narrow hallway, and who the fuck am I, Clint Eastwood? "Might have put a five tight in the tube or not. The question is, do you want whip shading? Well do ya, PUNK!?"
I braced myself for a beating, shooting, or something completely different. The one who called me Tattoo did this real little kid, looking at the ground, and I swear that he moved his foot, like a coy chick from a bad 40s movie, right on the toes, "Do you think we can buy some tattoo needles from you? We got the guns..."
In my head, "BWWWWWWWWAAAAAAA!"
From my mouth, "Nope. Tattoo is not in the tattoo supply biz. Sorry Charley. Try T Mart!"
With that I left.
So, I dunno even what I was trying to get down on paper, digital, fuck, never mind. It was funny. Sorta?
Where's Pete and the vodka?
(Gloomy has promised to move if another tire fire starts in the now totally gated closed South parking lot. -Ed.) (Which is also Gloomy)
Hello all. I's still alive and kicking, and slowly I have started building machines.
Just to proove it I got some new ink to share. Bert Grimm flash, and as he always had a good story... aw Hell, here is the link. See? Too damn dumb for a smart phone (took me 10 damned minutes to type this). http://tattooarchive.com/tattoo_history/floyd_pretty_boy.html
Close to the ditch too. Yikes! Shawn at Monster Monkey did it. You owe yourself one from these guys, three best, kind, and honest artists. True class, all the way.
After a great deal of pain and my fiance' getting me to move on it I went to the doc's. I have these tumors... and they have been bothering me, and like many, I ignored it. I work, go home, and jump online for a few hours. "I'll get to it," I say to myself.
So this pain was in my huevos, and that got me to go. Not fun pain in the least. My doc asks me if she can see the tumors. I go to unhitch my belt.
"Noooooooo, " She laughs, "The ones on your back."
I do, and her jaw drops, she turns white as a ghost, "Cafe Ole spots, fibroma... it's Neurofibromatosis type I." (A genetic disorder, and if anyone cares, here is a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurofibromatosis_type_I)
"That's what I thought. A tattooer friend, who knows medicine, told me that a year ago," Said I.
"Consider this a second opinion," She said.
This doc has known me since I was eight years old, and she used to give me sample packs of antibiotics because my family was poor. I turned to her to jokingly ask her if antibiotics would help. She was still white, she had her hand to her mouth and looked as if she might cry. Nice lady, like I said.
I stopped myself right there. "Is this what the Elephant Man had?" I ask.
She nodded, almost unable to speak, "Yes... I didn't want to say..."
I figured that, as I had seen a documentary on Joseph Merrick, although he had both NF1 and Proteus Syndrome.
I jumped in the air and
ran over to her. Granted, I wanted to give her a hug, but she's a pro, and since everyone in my mind is a potential client, I gave her a high five. "YES!" I yelled.
"Sure I am. I know what it is now, I'll find treatment as best I can fr as long as I can (there is no "out" for this, as Stoney St. Clair said about Ben Corday who had TB, "You watch the leaves fall and regrow for a few years, and then they bury you."), and I tattoo. Tattooing was a big part of the sideshow. My lady's family were all in the carnival business. So as I see it, all I gotta do is learn to paint circus banners, become a human volcano, and swallows swords. I can be my own 10 in 1."
Of course the shock wore off, and now I'm none to pleased. My lady and I will get married, but until I can get checked out at a clinic that specializes in this, my prognosis will be up in the air. Not to mention I may not be able to work for much longer behind machines. Bummer two, I just tuned my Jim Dandy's after a year with no problems and they purr like vicious kittens.
Sure, I got my books I'm writing, and I figure I can still paint flash for a while, but this has become what I always dreaded. Fatal illness. And it isn't even one I would have expected. Lung Cancer. COPD. Heart Attack, or a stroke.
Nope. Not a one. In fact, this has been with me since conception. I have been a ticking time bomb of badness just waiting to happen.
Bitter? Naw, just bummed I might have to leave the party early. Sad? Maybe that people will see me as a freak, and since there are no more sideshows, I can't go out. (I'd be tattooing on a sideshow right now if they would have me)
So now it's SSDI and Medicare for me. Sweet.
But I'm not angry. Shit, if I get real awful looking I can always use it. All the world loves a tattooer? No? Yes? They loved Stoney, and love Grime, so a big tattooed guy with deformities... maybe I'll still fit in.
Anyways, for my one friend on here, I'll be posting snippets of my book now and again.
Buy me whiskey, for I have no money for whiskey now. Oh and 11 mags. I'm out and using 9s. Yes, you feel bad for me right? (wink)
I hate to throw around the word professional.
I mean, what is a professional tattoo artist? Is it some one with dedication? Someone who understands art? Someone who can pound whiskey and tattoo a few hundred sailors in a night?
Or is a professional one who does not slag off competition. One who treats even the dumb with respect and kindness, but yet has a line that you don't want to cross?
Or is the professional tattoo artist one simply there to collect money, the art be damned? A scammer, full of BS?
Well I think the whole idea of shit talking is utter non-sence, and I'm not scared to say it. Sure there are quire a few old timers who liked to sling mud, but in this day and age you can't say, "Oh, there are too many artists."
You can back it up with all the excuses you can think of, but when it comes right down it, it's bunk. The population of the US (not to mention the world) has grown, and if any one can read past a needle grouping code and do the damned math, it isn't much different numbers wise, it's just inflation. Tattoos used to be from a quarter and up pretty much. Put in the mid 70s and beyond inflation and now you got big money coming in for you.
Look, I like to pretend too. I like to think of myself as a big bad Bowery tattooer, rough and tumble, and ready for a fight I'm sure to win. Were those times tough? Damned right. Were those times good for people? Ask anyone robbed or beat up, or slashed with a razor. They'll tell you it was damned rough shit, no doubt about it.
Frankly, I'm damned tired of it. "No business being in this business?"
What was it Sailor Jerry said, "When you think you're the best, you're already on the way out."
Ever think your egos might be getting the best of you? It's counter productive pride as I see it. If Tatts Thomas had not brought the young Norman Keith Collins aboard, we'd be missing so much in the art.
If Roy Boy didn't let Paul Booth work his table, just where in the fuck would that "dark art" be now except for the inside of Booths sketch books? I recently saw a very old Booth tattoo, before he worked on his own. You know what it looked like? Flat, that's what, and in color.
I'm not going to get all tough guy here, but really, it's 'mersh art that sells. If you have the guts to learn more, try hard and put up with a ton of shit, any knuckle dragger can be great. It don't take great minds, it takes guts.
See? Guts. I have the balls to wear my ink, work, and I don't take a whole lot of hokum from guys and gals who sadly took a whole lotta shit to get where they are now.
I was recently called a scratcher. And was told to "kill myself".
I laughed. If they get angry, not only have you scared them, but you have them talking about you and maybe even on the run. I'm sure the part time artist who said it was pissed. I'm taking his money and whats more, I learned the right way, from a master artist. If I'm so "bad" why do I still have clients?
You could say that people don't know art. And nine times outta ten that's true. But really, I'm the guy for my place and time, much like The Dude. I fit right in there.
So to anyone who might read this that doesn't tattoo, don't let the braggarts fool you. Bragging is a sign of insecurity.
To those who do tattoo, shut your mouths. More to come from a guy like me, be cause I'm not a Forty Miller. I refuse to stop, bad mouthing and all.
And with that, I wish you a fine morning. Sorry I'm a grump. My back hurts from TATTOOING all day yesterday.
(Let the insults come, but make 'em good. 0 to 100% grading scale, with no curve. Cheers!)
My lady has been nothing but good for me. Whats more, she's a fan of my art, off and on skin, and cheerleader for me to others. She has encouraged me to keep it up, no matter what kind of "entitled artist" BS I might catch or even when I get down on myself after seeing work that I might never be able to get to. She's been asking me for a tattoo for almost as long as we've been together, and I keep trying to find something from my mind that would fit her.
I saw Eddie and Penny Funk on a 'tube video, and Penny said that when Eddie was going to tattoo her, she told him to stop. That his hands were shaking. That Crazy Eddie is one of the guys that I looked up to when I was young. Him, Irons, Rudy, Malone, Stoney, all those old timers. I didn't get it then, but now that I'm really in love, I do.
It doesn't take a NY State Supreme Court ruling to tell you that with all the advances that have come about in the world of tattooing, it's just a much more speedy version of Tattau, or tapping ink into the skin with sharp object. "A barbaric survival practice..."
Mine have all hurt like a sonofabitch, and I'm not afraid to admit it. Much as I channel what I jokingly refer to as "my inner sadist" (What's the difference between a sadist and a tattoo artist? We have magazines to read while you wait.) sometimes I just stop and think to myself how this is nuts and so are the customers.
I mean really, if you told me that I would pay a few hundred bucks to have some one kick me in the jimmy, I'd tell you to lay off the glue and shut up. Yes I still get tattooed to this day.
But the idea of hurting the ones I love, which would include my Dad (one tattoo, but wants me to do a snake on him) or my sister (who is rapidly catching up to me in what is turning out to be a family tattoo nuclear arms race for coverage) to my soon to be wife freaks me out.
The first real tattoo I did, on my old bassist Jay, I was a mess. Sweating profusely I made sure everything was ready, clean, and I got to drilling him. I was quick even then, and he took it well, but I was saying sorry every five seconds.
I asked for it is pretty much what he said to me, and not only did I make a Benjamin, he tipped me five packs of unfiltered Lucky Strikes and pint of Jim Beam Black.
My family means much more to me these days then it did ten years ago. Call it a misspent youth or what have you, but now I see those past times as times I could have spent with them. As to my stunning, wonderful, and kind woman, I'm at a loss. It isn't her first rodeo, she has two already. But something inside me flutters, and not in a good way when I think about working on her.
But tonight I sit here, taking a break from drawing a fairy and roses based on Sailor Bill Grimshaw flash as I write this.
I hope she digs it.
"The grand prize is (drum roll); hassles, nonsense, arguments, a possible early death, and anonymous life punctuated by some artistic pleasure. If you're lucky."
What a great life, yeah? You bet it is, and I would trade it for nothing. Meaning if I could, I dunno, teach history in college, like I wanted to before I found out that anything past a needle grouping is beyond my math skills, I would.
I love it, don't get me wrong. My station in life is what it should be. A, so far, known, and so-so to OK tattoo guy.
Do I deserve this place in time, space, and perhaps history? Sure. Was I selected by the ghost of Phil Sparrow to do so?
You know what I'm entitled to? This blog, which no one reads (Hint. HINT! A hem...) and that, my few readers (A HEM...!) is about it.
I'm glad that are people out there though, who expect to be lauded, for whatever reason. "I've payed my fuckin' dues. I'm deserve..."
To shut up. So sorry that your road to tattooing sucked. As to being the best, biggest, baddest... please, just stop.
My theory comes from the Bogart version of the Maltese Falcon: "The cheaper the thug, the gaudier the patter."
"Cheap? My shop grosses..."
No, not cheap like that.
Cheap like, "Do we really need..."
Yes. WE do.
I was one once.
What ever "one" was/is.
So. In 24 hrs I met two people who have claimed to met Eddie Funk. I have not, and after writing this title, I think it might be a good idea if I don't.
I was out drinking, not my usual these days (I also ended up playing guitar, so I would assume that I was at least two sheets to the wind) and I get to talking. I'm chatty anyways, and this lady comes after I'm done making a jackass of myself with six strings. We get to talking, her, my lady and myself.
"I know Eddie Funk," Says she, "His shop was filthy!"
I did not go into urination as form of replenishing ink. But I did have vodka and pineapple juice. Quite a few. More than a few.
This week has been a bunch of firsts, including meeting my ladies Mom and her Mom's guy. And yes, it was the next day, so I feeling and looking just like one might think. A bag of ass with a face. Oh no, no nerves or anything. I'd much rather have to tattoo ______________________ (insert intimidating name here).
I sit down, and we all talked for a bit. "I'm from Philly," The guy tells me.
"Do ya know Crazy Eddie?" I ask, and I was still hung over from the night before, so this is just as flippant as it reads.
"Oh yeah," He says, "I know Eddie. You can't live there and not know Eddie."
I'm pro Eddie Funk. I would suggest the highest office for the man.
Crazy Eddie - Bowery Stan 2016
I was sitting drawing roses one day. Actually it was a good lesson in trusting the artistic eye too. I was sitting there with a 4B in my hand, this blank look on face, which ain't normal for me unless I'm thinking, and I closed my eyes.
I didn't have an apocalyptic vision, but I'm a fan of Chris Rock, and much like his "old guy in the club" bit, I saw myself at 60 (now granted, if you saw how I lived, smoked, and ate, you'd go, "Gloomy, you ain't gonna make it past 40."), bitterly bitching, covered in big think lines and shading with no color left.
Burned out but still there.
I put the pencil down and sat there. I really love to tattoo, and this thought kinda freaked me out.
"Man, how do you keep from burning out? Stay off the drugs, the booze?" I asked the master.
He stopped drawing hisself.
"I watch TV or go the movies. Sometimes by myself," He said, and went back to drawing sad looking new school things.
I do nothing. I draw, write, and on occasion I run out of paper or India ink pens and I go out, but on the whole I'm inside most of the time. If I were a nun you could call it cloister. I swear too much though. In fact I was inside so much that when dragged to the beach last, while I did put sunscreen on my tattoos, I didn't on the rest of me and ended up with second degree burns.
As a former musician I have mixed feelings about the public. I like them, and now I tattoo them, but if I'm out too long, or I get too much of the prevailing wind in my ears, I start to get sorta pissy. Call it what you will. Pique. Or that I don't like people. Or myself.
So the night I asked the question I ended up at the movies and it was all I could do not to throw pop corn at the screen, and I don't even remember what it was it was so forgettable. I did jeer the film though, a 'la mst3K, and had a small audience waiting for my next wise cracker.
(Remember that show with the selfish robots? Dr. Forrester? Joel? Mike? Great, now I'm showing my age and geek again. My fly is up though! So you're spared that, although I bet now you're thinking about it, huh?)
In the book form of Stoney Knows How, he said that Paul Rodgers was a great guy, but he had a "small mind".
I couldn't reason through it. Rodgers? The guy who worked with Coleman? The king daddy machine builder? THE PAUL RODGERS???
STONEY! SAY IT AIN'T SO!!!
It took me while to realize what the former sword swallowing carny was trying to say, and I had to look up Rodgers on the 'tube and see him talk, see him deal with other aspiring machine builders and show off his tattoos before I got it.
Rodgers smiled. If you see a picture and see him work he's all dead serious business. But the rest of the time he grinning, and has a "gosh golly, gee wiz" look on his face. The man loved his job, people, and had a sense of duty, no, a passion for helping people be better.
I think the guy might just have been a mortal muse.
Think about it. You couldn't just jump online and find a Paul Rodgers machine. Yes, I know he'd dead and it was pre dijital, but he never was a big supply house. You had to know him. Sure, you had to show respect, but when you did you got it too. As it should be. (The tattoo dude or chick these days has a warped sense of that. I blame TV. OH MAN! I sound like my Grandfather! "You buncha young punks, with your ABBA and your Pet Rocks!") Mike Malone had to convince him that people wanted and needed these flesh etching devices, and I'm sure Rodgers thought about it quietly, smiled big and said, "Well, OK."
Where is your smile? I'm still finding mine, and it isn't the easiest thing to do. In fact it's much easier to be a grump. I'm grappling with it like portrait work. I do like history, so I try to find the old guys that no one remembers and bring them to life again, if only in word or an old photo. If I can I try to write or call if they are still around. Sad part is that I'm past the time of many I admire. My idea of great tattooing, the kind I want from the guys, with a few exceptions, stops in around 1978.
To answer the question of why it's a little past 5AM and I'm still up? I am, sadly, relentless, even in doing nothing. Or almost nothing. I can pull off a nap for ten or twelve hours. I can sit down and go into myself, but I can never shut off my mind. So I find that when I can't sleep, averaging around four to five hours a night these days, I try to do something so I'm not bummed out about it.
So there you go. Just keeping busy, plodding along.
And that makes me smile.
People tell me I'm crazy all the time. My family, band members, friends, well the few friends I have still.
I am crazy too. I'm impulsive, big time, and a little OCD (big O, little c) I think. Whats worse, I don't care if you know I'm crazy. I think crazy is where it's at in fact, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Of course like most crazy people I don't have a plan. Or when I do, it's insane stuff. "Tattoo my hands, yeah," I thought to myself.
Finding a place to live can be a little rough sometimes.
I think deep down we're all a little crazy, client and artist alike. If you think about it, getting jabbed with a sharp object after paying money for it... it's kinda like BDSM, of course I don't have to put on leather or latex, which is good, because I'm a fat man and my grandmother always gets me cloths for Christmas that wouldn't fit me when I was 6. I think she wants me to look like a sausage in a casing, but I'm not sure, because she's even more out there then I am.
I have a track record of madness that makes me a candidate for the funny farm. Over doses, DUIs, all night drives with sweaty, stinky guys in a van that could serve as mobile vomitorium. My ink to say the least is strange. When I was a kid I wanted to be a pirate of all things, and now I feel like maybe I am. At least the ship's tattooer.
I come by it honestly. Viking stock with a liberal dose of West Tennessee ex-Confederate, bottom land moonshiner loony. I don't even understand art as it stands, just what makes a good tattoo in my mind. Probably why I like Crazy Eddie Funk so much...
In the end when someone says normal to me, in whatever context, I get my back against the wall and start looking for a direction to crab walk in before I get a small knife in the kidneys, liver and lungs, leading me to bleed out into my clothes.
This is an opener. You'll find that this madness will prevail on this blog and suggest you come back often and check up on me. My prognosis isn't and it'll just get worse.
Thank you for reading and light the the carpet on fire alligators.