Stay Fanatic!!! vol. 1 Reading Review NEW
Stay Fanatic!!! vol. 1 by Henry Rollins, reading review by Michael Channing Family may fail you. Friends can change. Music has never let you down.
The Spirit of Podcasts 2021
The Spirit of Podcasts 2021 by Michael Channing I had found my medicine.
Acid Park
Acid Park by Michael Channing The sculptures stood forty feet high or more. They spun and twirled like weather vanes. It was like a whole midway of carnival rides shrunk and hoisted into the air on metal polls. Miniature airplanes and carousels with iron horses, tilt-a-whirls, and spinning stars. And they were absolutely covered in reflectors of every color.
Nine One One Oh One
Nine One One Oh One by Michael Channing Terrorist season was open, and there were signs everywhere.
Anatomy of a Poem: "Chokes and Warbles"
Anatomy of a Poem: Chokes and Warbles by Michael Channing If Shakespeare were my teacher, he’d hang his head in shame, probably invent a new insult to write at the top of my paper.
My Five Favorite Songs About Suicide
My Five Favorite Songs About Suicide by Michael Channing There’s a lesson here, one I didn’t expect to find in this song: No two people experience depression the same way. It comes when it comes, from all manner of triggers within and without.
The Spirit of Podcasts 2020
The Spirit of Podcasts 2020 As I drove away from the Wendy’s in tears, having nearly finished the final episode--and confusing the server who handed me my bag--I knew immediately I was going to do another one of these lists.
A Series of Tributes to Neil Peart
A Series of Tributes to Neil Peart I was just a teenager taking the piss out of the adults. But I felt important with Neil’s words on my back. I felt as strong as life because of them.
The Stone God Awakens Reading Review
The Stone God Awakens by Philip Jose Farmer Leave it up to Farmer to install a brand-new knob on a well-used trope and crank that sucker up to eleven billion.
Seven Things You Don't Remember About Last Year
That first cup of coffee in the morning What of the small, not at all insignificant moments that fell between the big memories and were lost? They are just as vital, just as precious and in need of preserving.
Set to Sea Reading Review
Set to Sea by Drew Weing Hard labor, bad food, pirate attacks: the life of a sailor is less than idyllic.
The Changing Land Reading Review
The Changing Land by Roger Zelazny This book has great promise. The setting is intriguing, the main character is cool and interesting, the action is well paced. It vaults high but lands badly, twists its ankle, and limps away embarrassed.
The Outsider Reading Review
The Outsider by Stephen King It's a grisly crime: the molestation, murder, and partial cannibalizing of a young boy in a small town. The killer is spotted and identified by multiple people, first with the boy then without him but covered in blood. It's an open-and-shut case. At first.
Gahan Wilson's Out There Reading Review
Gahan Wilson's Out There by Gahan Wilson Wilson is known for his subversive and often gruesome cartoons, but he's done much more.
'92/'93 by Michael Channing The music was made for us. We were The Youth, the prized demographic, reaching back for the cultural baton as our parents reluctantly passed it on. The entire entertainment business was busy keeping our ears full. And we were hungry.
Dissolving the Block
Dissolving the Block by Michael Channing We all face it. That inability to move forward with the work. We call it a block, but that’s not what it really is. It’s fear.

Here's a secret: There Is Nothing To Be Afraid Of.
What Do You Do When Your Heroes Do Drugs?
What Do You Do When Your Heroes Do Drugs? by Michael Channing I'm a teetotaler. I don't drink, don't smoke, so what do I do? Judge... mostly. When I was young I hated drunk people. I hated them and their stupid problems.
Magic is Friendship
Magic is Friendship by Michael Channing The one game I have played more often and with more people than any other is Magic: the Gathering. I’ve played at work, in coffee shops, conventions, comedy clubs. My card collection has been in tow for twenty-plus years now, a tangible part of my past, relics that paint a picture of who I am.
I Got Strings
I Got Strings by Michael Channing You are a puppet. That's right. You. So am I. Every last one of us.
Anatomy of a Poem: "Umlaut"
Anatomy of a Poem: Umlaut by Michael Channing I was on a roll at this point, washing baby bottles in my kitchen and writing in my head.
Video Games and Pie
Video Games and Pie by Michael Channing I’m riding from school on the bus. My parents will be at work when I get home. My brother will be at my Granny’s house. I will have three or four hours of solitude, and I’m planning to fill that time with two things.
Twenty-Five Years of Reading, part two
Twenty-Five Years of Reading by Michael Channing I'll want at times to slip the thin and bleeding skin I was born into and flex muscles I never had. Between the pages of a book, there are other worlds than these.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers Reading Review
Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a flawed book, but at its core is a truth so deep even its most egregious faults cannot ruin it.
Norse Mythology Reading Review
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman All I knew of Norse mythology I learned from Marvel comics or Dungeons and Dragons manuals. Which meant I really knew nothing at all.
The Invisible Man Reading Review
The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells Everyone but the titular character sees the immense problems with becoming permanently transparent.
Bluebeard Reading Review
Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut Bluebeard is different in that it actually seems to care about its characters rather than what they represent.
The Voyage of the Space Beagle Reading Review
The Voyage of the Space Beagle by A. E. van Vogt In designing the template for how space exploration is handled by a good majority of artists, this book is a definite piece of science fiction history. But is it a good read?
Rendezvous with Rama Reading Review
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke The book's strength is the wonderment of the alien ship. Clarke does a great job in hooking the reader and keeping you fully engaged as Rama slowly awakens from dormancy and begins to reveal its secrets.
Cold in July Reading Review
Cold in July by Joe R. Lansdale How badly can a father fail before his son follows his path to ruin? And if the son is heir to the father's sins, how responsible is the father for the monster he creates? At what point is the father required to make amends for the deeds of his offspring?
The Ocean at the End of the Lane Reading Review
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman We think children are the only ones to see things purely, but we only have that thought when we reach maturity.
Twenty-Five Years of Reading, part one
Twenty-Five Years of Reading by Michael Channing Each year I keep a list of all the books I read. I write the title and author in pencil on a sheet of loose-leaf and clamp the growing stack of pages to a clipboard.
A Night in the Lonesome October Reading Review
A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny Zelazny is trying to use familiar building blocks to construct an alien tower. And then he looks at it from low angles, through a dog’s eyes.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Reading Review
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick Anything can, at any moment, change form; anyone can shift allegiance. The universe will not maintain balance or rationality, and it cares not for your sanity. This is an action story embedded in a philosophy dissertation, and it comes close to nihilism.
Uncle Sam Reading Review
Uncle Sam by Steve Darnall and Alex Ross The failure between the ideals of America and the broken promises is tearing Uncle Sam apart.
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater Reading Review
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. In Vonnegut’s world view, no one, not the working man or philanthropist millionaire, has a firm grip on anything you might call happiness.
Green Shadows, White Whale Reading Review
Green Shadows, White Whale by Ray Bradbury When you try to change Ireland, you do so at your own risk.
The Border Reading Review
The Border by Robert McCammon The great things about this book are many. The aliens are very alien, unique in a long line of literary invaders. The horrors are gut-wrenching. When blood flows, it flows deep.
Rusty Puppy Reading Review
Rusty Puppy by Joe R. Lansdale There's a passage in Rusty Puppy that is beautiful and haunting and heartbreakingly cruel. It's about the Robin Hood Tree. Long-time readers will remember that tree.
Trinity Reading Review
Trinity by Matt Wagner I was immediately hooked by the personal touch of Clark trying to fit in with humans by manufacturing his own imperfections.
The Most Disappointing Novels I Ever Read
The Most Disappointing Novels I Ever Read by Michael Channing I try to read only good books, but sometimes even the best authors let you down, and sometimes circumstances require you to read a god-awful piece of dreck.
Cat's Cradle Reading Review
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. This is way the world ends, not with a bang but with an ah-whoom. That's the sound of all the world's oceans freezing solid at once.
The Stand Reading Review
The Stand by Stephen King This is a big book, over a thousand pages long. It needs to be. The length is the book's greatest strength.
How I Failed My Saving Throw and Learned to Love D&D
How I Failed My Saving Throw and Learned to Love D&D by Michael Channing I, by random luck, rolled up one of the strongest natural-born humans in the D&D universe. To a kid made entirely of knees and elbows, this was the perfect piece of escapism.
The Celebrity Death of 2016 No One Talked About
The Celebrity Death of 2016 No One Talked About by Michael Channing Finding his books sparked my interest in Dungeons & Dragons, which led me to board games and polyhedral dice. New avenues of nerdom opened and welcomed me in. I connected with friends, and we hung out and went to shows and conventions and whiled away many a night at the gaming table.
The People Who Cut You Open
The People Who Cut You Open by Michael Channing I have some skills. But these guys are good at saving lives. To me that sounds like magic, but to them it's Tuesday. Or any day. That is amazing.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Reading Review
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl The anticipation of the book lies not in whether or not the kids who aren't Charlie will get their comeuppance, but in how gruesome that retribution will be.
To the Heart of the Storm Reading Review
To the Heart of the Storm by Will Eisner As goes one street corner in the Bronx, so goes the rest of the world.
And Another Thing... Reading Review
Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein Something this book gets absolutely right--and I mean nails it to the wall and then puts another nail through the center of that nail--is the Vogons.
Beyond This Horizon Reading Review
Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein I grabbed the first Heinlein I saw at the library one day. I figured anything from the Grand Master had to be great. I was mistaken.
From Hell Reading Review
From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell You thought you were going to read about a serial killer, maybe get a thrilling whodunit and police procedural. Didn't know you were wading into a sea of magic rituals and philosophical questions, did you? Welcome to Alan Moore.
End of Watch Reading Review
End of Watch by Stephen King In End of Watch, Brady Hartsfield takes on the role of that pleasing, deceitful voice. He finds folks at their weakest and tells them what they want to hear, that the end is easy and painless, and it will solve their problems forever. Otherwise, he says, the pain will go on forever, and no one will care.
Hell's Bounty Reading Review
Hell's Bounty by Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale It's a quest for justice and personal redemption, slathered in gore and dusted with gunpowder.
When David Lost his Voice Reading Review
When David Lost his Voice by Judith Vanistendael There's something this book gets absolutely right about cancer. It takes its time. Often, panels repeat, either completely or with only slight alterations, to give us the feeling of stasis that comes with dying.
The Maker of Universes Reading Review
The Maker of Universes by Philip José Farmer Farmer's two biggest talents are on full display: action writing and world building.
Brighten the Corner Where You Are Reading Review
Brighten the Corner Where You Are by Fred Chappell This book is fun all the way through, even the sadder parts, of which there are only a few. But it always feels like it's holding back secrets, that there are depths unknown just below the surface.
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Reading Review
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams For almost the entirety of the book, ends miss ends, and you seriously have no idea what's going on. But you're laughing, having a good time, and you trust Adams, because he's not only funny, he's a fine writer.
Hell House Reading Review
Hell House by Richard Matheson The events unfold slowly, which is the proper pacing for a horror novel, but after a time the reader can't help but wonder if they stumbled into Heck House by mistake. But rest assured, Hell awaits, and the explorers do indeed suffer Satanic torments.
Honky Tonk Samurai Reading Review
Honky Tonk Samurai by Joe R. Lansdale Of course, being a Lansdale book, the action and plot are often sidelined by snappy, whimsical conversations about dogs, cookies, relationships, sex, and the best color to paint a jail cell.
My Favorite Book Series
My Favorite Book Series by Michael Channing In no particular order.
Firestarter Reading Review
Here we have the tightest bond possible, that of a father and daughter, tested to its limits. We learn in this novel there aren't any.
Ruthless Reading Review
Ruthless is Adams' first book, and it's flawed. But the ending she chose is perfect.
The Shrinking Man Reading Review
By making the simple decision to remove the possibility of recovery, Matheson delivers a story far more terrifying and personal than anything that came before.
To Your Scattered Bodies Go Reading Review
To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer Secret loyalties are revealed, backs stabbed, duels fought, enigmas uncovered then cloaked in darkness once again. One theme appears again and again: Can a person change?
Misery Reading Review
Misery by Stephen King Be careful what you wish for. Especially when you're asking for it from Stephen King.
Novelists I Should Read at Least Once
Novelists I Should Read at Least Once by Michael Channing For some reason or other, I haven't gotten to these writers yet. But I will soon.
Johnny Got His Gun Reading Review
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo Joe is more than a mouthpiece for the writer's politics. He's a character we're willing to invest our time and emotions in. But the politics are there, and this book does have an agenda. It just happens to be one I've always held as my own.
Slaughterhouse-Five Reading Review
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. What about the damn aliens? Did they happen, too?
Fender Lizards Reading Review
Fender Lizards by Joe R. Lansdale I hope my daughter will read this one day. It's perfect for young readers, especially girls looking for a heroine with real faults and true guts.
Boy's Life Reading Review
Boys Life by Robert R. McCammon Overflowing with the magic and marvel associated with the doe-eyed innocence of youth.
My Five Favorite Songs About Donald Trump
My Five Favorite Songs About Donald Trump by Michael Channing Sometimes it's easier to believe Donald Trump is the actual biblical devil than it is to believe that so many people hear all his mean, ugly, bigoted, hateful, insensitive, divisive ramblings and think, "Yeah, that's me, too."
Video Games I Have Loved, and That Have Loved Me Back: Part Three
Video Games I Have Loved, and that Have Loved Me Back: Part Three by Michael Channing I longed for my basement room, for my friends, for video games, so I decided to take a sweet trip down Nostalgia Lane on this new thing called the Internet. I Alta Vista-ed Dragon Warrior.
My Ten Favorite Guitar Riffs
My Ten Favorite Guitar Riffs by Michael Channing It's a riff so solid, you can lean against it.
What Makes a Miracle?
Open the door and see all the people, with Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass Does anybody believe in miracles anymore? Walt Whitman saw them everywhere.
The Best Year of 2014
looking back on 2014 I got married twice.
I love my little nephew.
I hosted seven Nerd Quiz Live! shows this year.
This was the year I accepted Ronnie James Dio as my personal savior.
The Island of Misfit Toys and Lies
Dharma Mattel There's a toy war going on, and the sad things is the corporations are winning. They've fooled us into believing the lie of pink for girls and blue for boys.
Memories of Robin Williams
Mork's suspenders Trying to follow Robin's lead will crush you.
Video Games I Have Loved and That Have Loved Me Back: Part Two
Dragon Warrior III NES box art Thank you, video games for keeping my memories sharp, my heart light, and for making the years flow in reverse for a few short, bright moments.
My Five Favorite Songs About My Least Favorite Thing
Bruce Springsteen at work Rollins is right, it's not an adventure, it's a job. But you have to have a job. You gotta pay the bills and feed your family more than just free salt packets from Burger King. Staying is easy; quitting is scary.
Clockwork Angels Reading Review
Clockwork Angels Reading Review If you're familiar with the Rush catalogue, the book comes with a built-in soundtrack. Lyrical snippets from Rush songs are peppered throughout the novel. I often had to stop half way through a sentence and ask why my inner reading voice suddenly broke into song and jumped up two octaves.
Clockwork Angels Listening Review
Clockwork Angels Listening Review This is one of the heaviest albums I've ever heard, right up there with Tool and Pantera. I'm not kidding. There are some mosh-worthy songs here.
My Five Favorite Songs About Killers
Seasons in the Abyss Are we attracted to killers because they represent our own dark passengers? Do we vent our black desires vicariously through these fictional boogeymen?
What to Get Me For My Birthday (2014)
Fozzie the Bear needs surgery I don't ask for much, just some power tools, or objects of power, or the power to warp space and time.
Six Seven Things You Don't Remember About Last Year
That first cup of coffee in the morning What of the small, not at all insignificant moments that fell between the big memories and were lost? They are just as vital, just as precious and in need of preserving.
All the Right Places
MST3k nirvana Don't relocate the sock. Or if you do, at least leave a forwarding address.
Music in the Abstract: Three Ways to Listen to Rush
Rush Roll the Bones What's the best way to enjoy almost forty years of mostly great music? How about...
My Faith
Brainy Smurf does not approve. Something to do with the Smurfs in the hands of a jealous god. Hard to explain.
Nerd Party
Party on, Yoda. Party on, Merlin. I would have been able to loosen up at the party had all those people not been there.
Reading Review: Two Hap and Leonard Novellas by Joe R. Lansdale
Party on, Yoda. Party on, Merlin. A blissful, fistful good time.
My Five Favorite "Radio" Songs
Party on, Yoda. Party on, Merlin. Oh, the insipid, toothless thing radio has become. In its effort to please everyone, it has nothing exciting to say.
The Naming of Songs
Hair of the Dog, by Nazareth. A song's name is not always in the chorus, but most people think it is.
Reading Review: The 2000 Year Old Man by Mel Brooks & Carl Reiner
the 2000 Year Old Man. A really old guy with really silly things to say. That'll be me some day.
Bon Who?
Mary's eyes acording to The Art of Noise. Most popular music I have intentionally avoided.
Backyard Quest
Link finds a rusty lawnmower gear. I failed every one of my quests. No resets, no save points, no walkthroughs. Hyrule burned to the ground because I sucked at everything.
I'm Not Racist, But...
Not the clansman I was expecting. A touchy subject I am in no way qualified to discuss. But why should that stop me?
Good Vibrations
Still life with skull and bass. Had you asked me when I was twelve what my favorite band was, I would have answered, "The Beach Boys." Because that was the only rock-and-roll tape my mom had.
Memories of Bruce
Santa Bruce. For her birthday last year, my fiancee Connie got to cross an item off her bucket list. We drove from South Carolina to Kansas City, each of us catching a few hours sleep in the back of the van, to sit behind the stage at a Bruce Springsteen concert.
An Assemblage of Fools
That sweet glock rock. Despite what the gods command, I will continue to do comedy.
What To Get Me For My Birthday (2013)
Word ninja. You know, if you wanted to.
Interview with Cody Hughes part 2
Word jester. Cody: "It woulda been funny if I got hit in the head with that beer bottle."
Interview with Cody Hughes part 1
Word jester. Cody: "Doing the comedy that you want to do falls apart so easily."
Pain-A-Day Calendar
Peanuts calendar of sad. This week is going to suck.
Reading Review: Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale
Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale. A journey downriver to fulfill a dead friend's dream.
End of Me
Above average dick joke. Do you think about when you're gonna die? I think about it all the time.
PK Podcast 1: Dead Writers
PK podcast one. I must remind myself from time to time that my heroes are not perfect.
My Five Favorite Songs About Fatherhood
PK podcast one. The most positive fatherly example I've grown up with may very well be Darth Vader.
My Open Mic Manifesto
Me on the mic. I take it to the maximum.
Up, Up, and Away
Super me. I figured if my super powers weren't going to evolve naturally, the only other way to get them was with, according to comic book lore, radiation. Turned out there were very few sources of radioactivity in my hometown.
My Five Favorite Songs About the Apocalypse
Apocalypse songs. As more and more musicians began to reject the pervasive greed and excess not only in rock-and-roll but in American culture, the glamour boys who needed nothing but a good time began to find themselves ignored and unemployed. The reactionary themes of the Sixties reappeared, only this time angrier and darker.
Video Games I Have Loved and That Have Loved Me Back
Ultima: Exodus. You felt like a character in the story rather than a machine manipulating buttons and a joystick at maximum efficiency. It's true escape, not just empty motions.
My Five Favorite Rock-and-roll Screams
A scream from The Wall. The releasing of anger can better any medicine under the sun.
My Five Favorite Song Choruses
My five favorite choruses. Songs are usually built around choruses that stick to your brain like peanut butter, but the entire rest of the song exists only to kill time until the chorus can come round again
Super Murder Fuck
The Falcon Lords. I left with many mementos of my adventure: a ringing in my ears, smoke in my clothes, a band around my wrist, someone's Dead Kennedys button entangled in my hair, and a graveyard tango ghosting in my brain.
Step Right Up
Sideshow banner. Only in Asheville would a tapeworm puppet teach us about water harvesting at a sideshow.
Home Sick
I'm sick. Rainbow nurses me back to health.
I'm sad. I visited my grandma at the nursing home this Christmas. I recognized her mostly because everyone else there called her Grandma and Mamma. But this wasn't the woman I remembered.
Put the X Back in Xmas
I'm sad. You can wish me merry Xmas if you want. I won't mind. You can even pay me to have a merry Xmas. I'd gladly take upwards of five bucks to have a happy holiday, especially since you insist I remain joyful the entire month of December.
Setting the Platinum Record Straight
Bob comes to the defense of Rush. If you're not a Rush fan, please pay close attention to these amazing and true facts about the world's greatest band.
These Lyrics Suck
These lyrics suck: Sorry. This song had it coming.
Happy Rollins Day
Me, painted red like Rollins. How you can celebrate the birth of everyone's favorite alternative icon.
Flayed in the USA
I'll have to do this swiftly. For all the atrocities done for my benefit, I say thanks.
Instant Normality Kit
I'll have to do this swiftly. Calling all nerds, geeks, dorks, and other geniuses. Do you feel left out at your job, unable to mingle with the normals?

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Chokes and Warbles
Now Available

Chokes and Warbles, a collection of essays and poems by Michael Channing