mall crawlin

I probably haven’t been to a mall since 2019. Other than grocery stores, I rarely ever do in person shopping. I’d venture to guess that malls and department stores have been on the downward trend since at least the Great Recession (but I really don’t know because I do zero research here).

Many will blame the pandemic for this trend, but honestly, the glory days of mall shopping were numbered the moment someone first purchased something online.

That’s just facts.

It’s no big deal to me. I’ve never enjoyed shopping and I hate leaving the house. Therefore online shopping works for me.

So thank you, Jeff Bezos! You might be a member of a billionaire class that puts our democracy at risk, but at least you made my life easier 🥰

Everything goes through paradigm shifts…both big and small…from the way we eat things, to technology, to the way governments work, to even ECONOMIES. So is ‘capitalism’ to blame for the decline in malls? Yes (conversely, I presume, capitalism is what brought us malls to begin with. So “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away”). But even without capitalism, the world changes. And it’s foolish to believe that there was a time when it never changed, or that it’s even possible for such a world to exist.

NEVERTHELESS, I can empathize with those that were attached to mall culture. It ain’t easy watching something you love go to trash (believe me, I know. I’m a Star Trek fan). And that’s probably why there are countless accounts on Instagram that are documenting it’s decline.

Dead malls are everywhere. But they leave behind an interesting glimpse into the past. Memories were made there; they are architectural exhibits of a specific time and place. So malls are a part of history.

Unfortunately, probably because of their size alone, many malls are being demolished to make room for the next great innovation in capitalism. And the next innovation will be beloved by the next generation, but this innovation will face the same fate as all the other innovations before.

And so it goes.

I would share some of the photos from these various Insta accounts I follow, but people get a little touchy when you share something that doesn’t belong to you. So here’s a small list:

@deadmallcrawl

@rayoutthere

@mallchitecture

@ruralretail

These are the four that I could look at for hours and hours. There’s just something hauntingly beautiful about decaying public spaces. 🤷‍♂️

****

And speaking of death, it’s Halloween time!

So STOP reading my blog, and stop on over at Dead Star Press and save 31% off your next purchase!

“untitled” (part II)

“Sorry about shattering both your legs, pelvis, 14 ribs, and rupturing your brain,” Patricia told Eric, “but I couldn’t take you to the hospital. I hope you understand. That would work out best for both of us: I wouldn’t get fired and you wouldn’t accumulate massive medical debt. But I’m rich, so I will pay you a lot of money to keep your mouth shut.”

“Yeah, no I agree,” Eric replied as he sipped on his tea. Patricia spent the previous few days nursing him back to health in her own home. “I don’t trust doctors anyway,” he continued, “I just hope you cauterized the head wound to facilitate a full cognitive recovery.”

Patricia shook her head. “I’m sorry but you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m a trained physician.”

Eric was stunned. It never occurred to his half witted (and heavily damaged) brain that a woman could be more knowledgeable than him. “B-b-but, I thought you were a banker!” he stuttered.

Patricia rubbed her temples. “It’s a long story,” she explained. “I have an MD and an MBA. The important thing is that I’m fully capable of healing you.” She then stood up at his bedside and slipped on a robe. “You should lie in bed for the next few days,” she continued, “don’t over exert yourself. I’ll compensate you for all your lost wages.”

“Shiiiit,” Eric said, “I’m making more money in this bed than I’ve ever made in my life. But my family’s gonna wonder where I’ve been. My mom’s probably gonna kick me out of the house for going missing.”

“Just make up something. Besides, aren’t you 33 years old? Why are you still living with your mom?”

“Living on my own? In this economy?! Yeah right!”

“Anyways!” Patricia said. “I’m going to work. Please stay in bed. And if you need anything, I’m at your mercy.”

Eric watched Patricia leave the guest room and close the door behind her. “Maybe I have a milf fetish,” he thought as he whiffed her lingering scent. The thought of her examining his body easily aroused him.

Meanwhile, Patricia returned to work after a week of tending to Eric’s needs. “So who’s the lucky fella?” the President and CEO of Fifth National Bank, Harvey Whinestine, asked as she walked into her office.

“Pardon?” she replied, fearing her secret has been discovered.

Harvey laughed. “I just figured you escaped to the Caribbean with one of your boy toys. I didn’t think we’d see you again.”

“Oh,” Patricia said, drawing a sigh of relief. “I’m sorry, I’ve been sick all week. I’ll get with Debra and we’ll get caught up on everything.”

Harvey stepped into her office and shut the door. “I do hope everything is alright,” he said. “If you ever need anything…”

“Harvey, I’m fine,” she interrupted. “I haven’t had a drink in two months. There’s no urge. You have nothing to worry about.”

Harvey shook his head. “I’m glad you’re hanging in there, kiddo,” he said. “Take all the time you need to get caught up.”

But Patricia instantly started answering emails after Harvey left the room. She opened the top drawer to her desk to find a notepad. Then she paused when she noticed what was inside: tucked away under a bunch of papers was a picture of her son.

“I’m sorry Carson,” she said to the photograph.

Her hands began to shake uncontrollably as she closed the blinds to her office window.

TO BE CONTINUED…

meet william shitz (part I)

Alright, here’s the beginning of September’s story. Hopefully it will be tragic, heartwarming, thought-provoking, sappy, lovey-dovey, etc etc. Just like you’d find in any shitty Hallmark movie or 90’s Oscar-bait picture.

Don’t hold your breath though. I am pulling this story right out my ass. Maybe it’ll good though. I have a good feeling about this one.

William Shitz woke up the same time every morning: 4:30AM.

He’d look in the mirror, trim his mustache, and evacuate his bowels. He’d always use two squares of toilet paper. No more, no less.

His bowel movement was a little more painful than usual this particular morning. But he thought nothing of it. After wiping his ass, William departed to his study to read the morning newspaper.

“Can you believe this Archibald?” William asked the butler in his thick transatlantic accent.

“Belief what sir?” asked Archibald.

“The Dow 500 crashed 8 million points yesterday. We must be in a recession!”

“Nonsense, sir,” Archibald said, “you’re a billionaire. None of that will affect you.”

“Mmm, right you are,” William said as he sipped his Earl Grey. “Do tell me, have I missed any phone calls this morning?”

“It’s 5am, sir. It won’t be start of business for another couple of hours.”

“Right. Well I better get moving then, I don’t want to fall behind on the day’s schedule.”

William Shitz removed his smoking jacket, put on his business attire and ascot then climbed into the back of his Rolls-Royce Phantom III. As Archibald was driving the vehicle, he handed the gold-plated phone back to William. “Your daughter is on the line, sir,” he said.

“Darla Shitz,” William said into the phone, “how have you been my dear?”

“Dad, I’m ready to come home,” Darla replied.

“Now now, Darla, you know I wish to be called ‘father’.”

“Father, I’ve been in France for six years! I know that it was rough on you when mother passed, but I want to be back with my family!”

“Now’s not a good time, darling. I must be going, I have a busy day ahead of me. Goodbye.” William abruptly hung up the phone and handed it back to Archibald.

“How is Darla doing, Mr. Shitz?” Archibald asked. “I would love to see her again.”

“Oh fine, fine,” William replied, “but I’m afraid she wishes to stay in France a little longer.”

The Rolls pulled up to Shitz Factory, a large DoD contractor that develops and manufactures weapons used to drop on villages in the Middle East. It was personally owned by Mr. William Shitz himself.

“I haven’t had a day off in two years,” said Allan Funt, Vice-President of operations and William’s right-hand man. “I’m overworked, I’ve developed a drinking problem, and my wife is fucking the mailman. All I’m asking is a couple of days off.”

“I’m sorry Allen,” Mr. Shitz replied, “but I expect all of my employees to give the same dedication that I gave into building this company for a laughable fraction of what I make. That goes for you as well.”

Allan began to tear up. For a fleeting moment, William felt a degree of sympathy for him. “Now now, Allen,” William said, “you’re my most valuable employee. Keep up the good work and maybe I’ll give you a day off next year.”

Allan nodded, wiped away a tear, and diligently went back to work. As William was returning to his office, he felt a sharp pain in his stomach.

“Are you alright, sir?” Archibald asked.

“I don’t understand, Archibald,” William said, “I already had a bowel movement this morning.”

His stomach continued to cramp. He rushed into his private office and on into the bathroom then dropped his pants. He noticed that he already soiled his silk underwear.

William continued to spray shit out of his rectum and into his diamond-made toilet. After a violent two minutes, he grabbed his usual two squares of toilet paper and wiped his crack. When he looked back at the paper, he was appalled.

It was covered in blood.

TO BE CONTINUED…

what is a reel ass dude?

Definitions vary. But in short, it’s any person that rides a fine line between being insane…or criminally stupid…and a total menace to society.

Which leads to a bigger question that I get asked everyday of my life: how does one get inducted into the Internet Ruined Everything’s Hall of Fame of Real Ass Dudes (IREHOFRAD)?

Because this is such an elite club, one must meet the following criteria:

1. Demonstrated clear excellence in insanity or stupidity. But their eccentricities can’t lead them to be perpetually in jail. Remember, being a menace to society is a clear disqualification for being a real ass dude. Serial killers, mass murderers, and Harvey Weinstein will never qualify.

2. That being said, there are bonus points for criminal activity. DUIs, robbery, minor drug trafficking, embezzling, manslaughter, fraud, etc, are perfectly acceptable. Sex and hate crimes, however, are an automatic disqualification. OJ Simpson totally rides the line here.

3. Have outstanding achievements in the fields of entertainment, business, sports, politics, technology, etc, that will stand the test of time REGARDLESS of their insanity, stupidity, and criminal activities. A prime example here is Bobby Knight. The man had no business coaching a college basketball program who nevertheless won three national titles. This is why Knight was the first inductee into the HOF.

Basically to get into the Hall, inductees must exemplify, or outright facilitate, the decline of society’s collective super ego.

Have someone you want to nominate? Let me know in the comments.

On the ballot next year is OJ Simpson, Brett Favre, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and Donald Trump. Only one can get in.

The Partnership for Enterpise, Nurturing, and Innovation Sciences (PENIS)

So I left my lucrative job at the toilet factory to become a life coach/thought leader/grifter on LinkedIn.

And people ask me all the time: how did you become so goddamn successful?

Easy!

It’s helpful to have a big penis and loads of inherited money. But if you lack those qualities, there’s another secret that insiders don’t want you to know: voodoo.

So curse your enemies to eternal damnation and harness the powers of Satan by downloading my “free” ebook written by yours truly and Dr. Dale Dickton, who’s a real doctor and didn’t get his degree from a diploma mill.

COMING soon

2051: a space monstrosity (part vii)

“It is the King’s wish that your three female crew members join his harem. In exchange, we will grant you land rights on Ishnar, allowing you to remain here permanently,” Hazov declared to me in front of the Royal Council.

“What if they deny the King’s wish?” I retorted.

“Then you and your crew will be asked to leave.”

“Hazov, I can’t make them do anything. Those three crew members are distinguished women in their own right. I do not own them.”

“Those are the conditions on which you may stay on Ishnar.”

“Unacceptable,” I said, “I am responsible for the safety and well-being of my crew. Under no conditions would they submit to this demand.”

Hazov then whispered to one of the advisers. They convened privately for a few moments. “Alright,” Hazov finally spoke up, “then the King will accept one of your female officers for his harem: Commander Mwangi.”

I tried to hide the anger boiling beneath. “Under Space Fleet guidelines,” I responded, “we are ordered to respect the customs of extraterrestrial cultures. But I cannot submit my crew these demands, not without discussing it with them first. Please allow me to return to the Sagan where I will meet with my crew.”

“Of course, Captain.”

I was bluffing. I knew the crew wouldn’t agree to these terms but I needed time to find other options.

When I returned to the Sagan, Dr. Jackass pulled me aside. “Valdez is indeed pregnant,” he said, “we ran a DNA test and the father is Smashhouse. Yah was correct.”

“Fuck me running!” I replied.

***

I went underground to meet with Yah again. The guards refused to let me through. “Look,” I told one of them, “Hazov has granted me unrestricted access to Yah.”

“We need an explanation for your visit,” the guard said.

“I just need to go over with Yah the court proceedings on Earth should he stand trial,” I replied. “That’s all.”

“I need to confirm this with Hazov.”

“Don’t waste your time, Hazov’s time, and my time. You’re being ridiculous.”

We had a stare down for a few moments before he let me through. Another guard escorted me to Yah’s chamber.

“Can we have some privacy please?” I asked the guard. When he was out of earshot, Yah spoke up.

“I knew you’d be back,” he said.

“Of course you did.”

“We got off on the wrong foot Captain. But I can help you with your problem.”

“What is my problem?”

“Your ship doesn’t work and you can’t stay on Ishnar.”

“So? Maybe I can find another corner of this planet for my crew to live on.”

“The King of Ishnar rules this entire planet. If he ever found you and your crew, he would kill all of you. Face it: the customs of Ishnar is incompatible with Earth’s. You know this to be true.”

“How can you help me then? Can you fix thrusters, hydrogen drives, and hibernation chambers?”

“Through me, all things are possible.”

“Do you agree to do this?”

“You have my word, Captain.”

“What about Earth? It’s gone. Can you help us rebuild the planet?”

“I’ve only ever wanted what’s best for humanity.”

“Okay then. If you go back on your word, I will not hesitate to eject you into outer space where you’ll spend eternity in your chamber.”

“My powers are limited in this chamber. The only way I can repair your ship is if you release me from it.”

Son of a bitch, he was right. I knew he was right. And he knew that I knew he was right. We were playing each other. I had to make a choice.

I called the guard over. “Bring Yah’s chamber to the surface,” I ordered. “We’re bringing him back to Earth.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

“bitcher”: where free speach is MANDATORY

All the political ideologues claim they want to protect free speech. Well now’s the time to put their money where their mouth is.

Twitter’s a dumpster fire.

So allow me to introduce you to new kind of free speech platform: Bitcher.

Clearly I haven’t worked out all the kinks yet. Nor have I set up a website. Any Big Tech billionaire can take (or steal, if you prefer) this idea.

But here’s the general concept:

-For every Bitch (equivalent to a “Tweet”), there is NO character MAXIMUM. Only a character MINIMUM (which would greatly exceed the character maximum on Twitter). The idea being that participants MUST present a well reasoned Bitch. If any poster tries to cheat the system by circumventing the character minimum (i.e by stringing together random words and letters, or by typing something like “penis penis penis,” etc) then that Bitch will be flagged and removed and the poster will be suspended for a brief period.

-Each Bitch must have at least ONE hyperlink to an external source that is relevant to its subject. To submit a reply, the poster MUST click on the link. Replies don’t have to provide links, but must meet the character minimum.

-If a reply also presents an external link that’s relevant to the subject, the OP MUST respond within a given timeframe (ex: 48 hours). If there are an excessive amount of replies that fit this criteria, a minimum amount of replies from the OP will be set (ex: 5). Failure from the OP to reply will result in a temporary suspension.

-Name calling and obscene language ARE permitted. (Terroristic threatening and harassment are not)

-It will be highly encouraged on the platform to belittle and name call any politico on Twitter that has yet to join Bitcher (within the bounds of reason, of course). If they are interested in free speech, then they should have the courage to join Bitcher.

-It is my belief that the format of Twitter encourages snark, sarcasm, dunking, and just general stupidity with its character limitations. By setting a high character MINIMUM, hopefully this will minimize the effectiveness of those acts by FORCING the participant to engage thoroughly.

So you want free speech? Here’s your chance:

Bitcher: Where Free Speech is MANDATORY

Assthetics

When it comes to the Star Trek vs Star Wars debate, I stand firmly on the Star Trek side (the Gene Roddenberry/Rick Berman era. Not the JJ Abrams/Alex Kurtzman era). I prefer my science fiction to be a bit more grounded. Star Wars, to me, is more Sci-fi/Fantasy.

The success rate of Star Wars, in terms of quality per production, is well below 50% (Star Trek hovers at around 50%). If you think about it, there are really only TWO really good Star Wars films: Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. The Mandalorian is alright, but it’s a bit too predictable. Nevertheless, I can appreciate George Lucas’ creation. Despite some of the terrible storytelling, when historians reflect on the artful impact of cinema, Star Wars will be to film what William Shakespeare was to the English language or Plato to philosophy.

Star Wars is so ubiquitous in modern culture that people don’t stop to appreciate how it really was a game changer. Watch a Hollywood film before 1977 and watch one after. You’ll see that film and pop culture entertainment was forever changed by it.

To be honest, I don’t think George Lucas’ screenplay (or direction) was that revolutionary. The revolutionary aspect was the production design, music, special effects, and editing (although I’d argue that the James Bond films were far more revolutionary in film editing). In this respect, Lucas was more of a CEO overseeing various departments in creating a lived-in universe. For Star Wars, the stories were always secondary. What grabbed everyone’s attention was the myths and scope: it was like watching an ancient epic being played out on the big screen in a way that films before weren’t able to capture.

So I don’t think that devout fans enjoy Star Wars because of their incredible stories and performances (unless they’re watching because of Harrison Ford). It’s purely an aesthetic experience. Make a Star Wars movie without storm troopers, Star Destroyers, light sabers, Boba Fetts, Jedis, Death Stars, etc. then you probably wouldn’t have a Star Wars movie.

You could make the argument that you can’t make a Star Trek movie/TV show without Starfleet. But fans of Trek have shown to be more open to bending its internal rules to further explore its universe.

But I don’t know dude, you like what you like.

But you know who my favorite Star Wars character is?

Admiral Piett

I hope he gets his own spin-off.

“Layer Cake”: Britain’s finest hour

Before his James Bond got blown to shit on some rooftop on a Japanese island in No Time To Die (sPoIlEr AlErT!), Daniel Craig was in what is perhaps the greatest British film ever made: Layer Cake.

While every actor (except Tom Hardy) acts their ass off and every line of dialogue is an absolute banger, the film is perhaps best known as a turning point in film history: introducing the world to Daniel Craig’s god-like body.

Daniel Craig was blessed with being able to make whatever he’s wearing look like it was tailored specifically for him. He spends much of the film wearing the same plain gray raglan t-shirt with Levi’s…an outfit that probably costs $50 total, but it looks like he’s modeling Brioni.

I couldn’t pull off that look. I tried.

Another thing Craig succeeds at is showing his “sex” gaze:

Sorry, this is the best screenshot I could find.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m happily married now because I mastered that gaze. Now personally, I like to use the Sean Connery method of tilting my head forward, arching an eyebrow, and smiling with my eyes. But every man has to master the “sex” gaze, to knock em dead with one look, if they want to be successful with the ladies (or the fellas).

That haircut is pretty good too. It’s definitely a 60’s style throwback, echoing the aforementioned Sean Connery and his toupee during his James Bond tenure. Unfortunately I’m a balding man, have been since I was 13, so I was never able to pull off that style. But because I’m balding, I’m sort of an expert at spotting hair plugs. And Craig, in my humble opinion, probably has hair plugs. That being said, I’d pay good money to find out who his specialist is.

Another thing on Craig’s style is that pimpin purplish/maroon jacket he wears to start the film:

I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: no man has ever looked as good on film as Daniel Craig did in Layer Cake.

“We get it, you’re in love with Daniel Craig. But what about the film?”

Oh yeah, the film’s good too.