Editorial Director, R.T. Jordan
Author, The Polly Pepper Mystery Series

We’ve all read the headline-making stories of Mother Mary dropping by unannounced and making official appearances (usually in low-rent housing projects and double-wide trailer parks) on frosty window panes or car port oil stains or the mold on a brick of Cracker Barrel Monterey Jack cheese. We always sorta sniggered at such phenomena. However …

Ice Cold Mary

Oily Mary

A curious thing occurred while we were hosting a game of “Animal, Mineral, Vegetable” in the Men’s bathroom at the BRUISES THE GIN offices the other day. There, in plain sight, on the travertine tile floor under the urinal, right where the vision of Ella Fitzgerald wearing a curly blonde wig and eating a banana used to be, was the honest to goodness likeness of sweet Baby Jesus’ natural birth mama!

Alas, the apostates on staff were unable to recognize the obvious. Our editorial director, R.T. Jordan, insisted that the most famous virgin in the world probably doesn’t play Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, unless it’s to lend her name to instigate wars, or pose as the poster Mom for the murder a few million heretics. 

Ben Tyler pointed out that the janitorial staff hadn’t been in the room in months and admonished that we shouldn’t judge by appearances. That the depiction could simply be a congregation of bacteria. 

R.T. continued to pooh-pooh the so-called “representation” on the floor tile under the pee-pee trough as no more her divine Maryness than Martinelli’s sparkling cider is Dom Pérignon.

But isn’t that the way religious riddles and Pastor Robert Jeffress‘ ideologies work? Not everyone is expected to get the jokes (especially, apparently, Mormons and Islamists and Hindus and Buddhists who, according to Jeffress are all members of cults.).

Alas, the “Mary tile” proved too powerful. With the excuse that this was a sign from the cosmos that they should be working for Landover Baptist Church.com, most of the staff decided that BRUISES THE GIN would go on hiatus, at least until R.T. could afford a stone mason to replace the scary Mary tile (and to pay them for their work over the past six months). Therefore, until further notice it appears to be the will of Allah and Muhammad and Vishnu and definitely Michelle and Marcus Backmann, that BTG takes a holiday.

In the meantime, those of us who are left will be working tirelessly to kick the shitout of whoever gets the Republican presidential nomination.

We’ll keep all of our previous editions of BRUISES THE GIN archived. So check
back and get irritated, self-righteous and intolerant all over again. We’ll still read your e-mails, so remind us often of what we’ve been told a thousand times about some silliness called “blasphemy,” “dissrespect,” “profanation” and “sacrilege.” Woo-hoo!

Klaatu barada nikto!



Editorial Director: R.T. Jordan
, etc.

“Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.”
Robert C. Gallagher

CHANGE: In the weather. New job. No job. Underwear. Husband. Wife. Lover. Death. Life. Home. Homeless. Political rhetoric. Improved sensual lubricant. iPad. iPad2. Menu options at the medicinal cannabis store. Evolution. Ah! EVOLUTION!!!


Not all change is full o’ loopy tickles. (Perhaps with the exception of the new lube.) Change can be stinky and unethical and downright demonic. Case in point: The Bachmann sisters (Michelle and Marcus), with their reparative homo therapy malarkey. Billing sniveling sissies (and Medicare) for treatment to cure their aberrant lives (“Sorry I’m such a god-made fucked-up soiled pair of Huggies.”). J.H.C., that all-time greatest of superstar mystics, would probably scratch his dreds, spin his Dreidel and roll his old-soul baby blues (in the Aryan Christian ideal) while sniggering in baffling disbelief and say, “Christ all mighty, haven’t you assholes learned anything from Muhammad and Khalil Gibran and Gandhi and John Lennon and Bill Maher, and um, Moi?

Sexy Jesus

Nah. Telling a tortured soul that there’s only one pot at the end of the gay rainbow, and it ain’t filled with gold, but rather the devil’s discharge, and it’s their very own eternal treasure if they don’t stop the urge to taste the naughty places on others of their own sex, is far more sadistic fun than recognizing that some things, such as um, immutable Laws that like govern the whole universe full of amazing and diverse things, are just sort of too tricky to alter. Inconvenient though they may be to an intolerant and in desperate need of a brain enema (or that improved lube) delusional wannabe (but TG never will be) chief executive. Praise Allah and Pastor Ted Haggard.

Our diatribe aside, this edition of our deviant forum is a about change. Mostly the satisfying-as-a-shag, change. The stuff that makes the planet a more seductive place to visit sort of change. The unexpected, when-things-appear-darkest, positive change that really and truly does happen all the time. (See below, the latest news about friend of BTG, Mike.)


(Which Obviously Leaves Out Hank Williams, Jr.)

We’re meeting two exceptionally creative talents. Both faced challenges and ultimately created the space in their lives for major positive changes.

First, our paranoid schizoid colleague, Marsha S. (who refuses to use her last name), met with PR icon and friend of BTG Robin Blakely. Then, BTG’s own R.T. Jordan, who is smitten with the new novel On Wings of Affection, coerced the author, George Snyder, to have dinner with him and chat about his life and work. We’ve been productive and quite delighted with ourselves these past two weeks.


By Marsha S.

PR Guru, Robin Blakely

Truth be told, I sought out public relations wiz Robin Blakely after tiring of listening to our editorial director at BTG wax on (and on) with larger-than-life Robin Blakely stories. They seemed too outstanding to be true. Like  Readers Digest‘s “The Most Interesting Person” testimonials.

“Robin set up my book tour while she was in the hospital undergoing a kidney transplant!”

“Robin stalked a top editor in New York until he begged her to let him publish my first book!”

“Robin booked me onto a TV show in San Francisco, while she was simultaneously mowing her lawn, breast-feeding the baby, and raising chinchillas for fun and profit.”

I wanted to personally meet this super hero publicist/author/guru/mentor. Turns out that although our editorial director’s stories were mainly apocryphal, there was a lot of veracity to his claims, at least to the degree that Blakely is a powerhouse who goes way above and beyond the call to get the job done and whose clients always come first, often without knowing any of the behind-the-scenes drama.

Blakely is a media coach for writers, industry leaders, and nonprofit professionals.  “I help build professional platforms that serve as infrastructures for people to build their brands,” she says, describing her unique job.  “These days, I am steering new and seasoned authors with entrepreneurial spirits through the e-book and POD process to build solid franchises. And because so many creative talents feel professionally lost in the sharp transition of the publishing landscape, I have begun to do a different kind of PR therapy—I provide special coaching to high achievers who have temporarily lost their mojo.”

Blakely has worked with dozens and dozens of authors and industry experts to build their brands. “My role has typically been to help authors understand how to transform their book products into marketing tools so they can make a real living as writers, often in spite of the publishing industry,” she says. “That’s why I’m so excited by recent developments in E-publishing and print on demand. People finally have a chance to truly manage their own creative careers from concept through distribution.”

Perhaps Blakely’s unique understanding of media comes from her early career as a  reporter for a Los Angeles radio station where she covered everything in the northern end of LA County from dead bodies to space shuttle landings. Later, she became the producer for that radio station’s daily talk show. “I booked all kinds of great authors, comedians, celebrities, astronauts, test pilots, politicians, I even got the Vice President to call in from Air Force One. It was a blast,” she recalls. “In that capacity, I had a great opportunity to see every kind of press kit imaginable and be pitched to by top press people. I also had the chance to develop a Rolodex a mile wide. That job provided a foundation of experience that has served me to this day”

“DREAMS ARE NOT FREE.” – Robin Blakely

Robin was inspired to start her PR company when her first marriage ended in a hellish divorce. “I started with an old IBM Selectric typewriter, two chronically ill kids, half an oatmeal-colored couch, and a rented two bedroom-two bath apartment,” Blakely recalls. “My previous experience: research, writing, talking on the phone and persuading people to do things. My first home office was so small that I had to take the sliding doors off the closet to fit my desk and my bed in the same room. My file system was in my bathtub. There was one phone in the kitchen and the first time I got call backs from CNN, I had to write my notes on a paper plate with a blue crayon because the telephone cord would not reach my desk. But who cared? I was getting call backs for clients from CNN, and the Los Angeles Times, and a whole bunch more top places in my first few weeks of business. It was exhilarating.”

Raised in Missouri, with all of those famed Midwestern values of hard work, Blakely is a total believer that one doesn’t have to have money to make their dreams come true. “But you must have a can-do attitude and be ready to throw your whole self into what you’re doing … like it matters … because it does matter,” she insists. “To me, the real issue is rarely about being scared to take the plunge … it’s more about being afraid not to take the plunge. Jump in! Follow your passion!”

Robin Blakely graciously agreed to share a Chinese chicken salad and lemonade with me as I asked my revelatory questions:


RB: I live with my husband, our thirteen year-old son, and our two commuting college kids in a suburb of Kansas City.  We moved here because I wanted my kids to have a chance to really get to know my elderly mother. My mom is an amazing 90-year-old who is young enough to enjoy Facebook and old enough to tell you firsthand that John Steinbeck got some things wrong in the Grapes of Wrath—she knows because she was actually in those Okie camps around the same time he did his research.


RB: One afternoon, my mom had a critical health issue and I got news that she was being rushed to one of several area hospitals. While I was waiting for details, a particularly high maintenance client called me. I told the client about my unfolding crisis. She responded with one of the most shallow, self-absorbed remarks I ever heard.  She said, “While you are waiting to find out if your mother is alive, can we discuss which outfit I should wear on the Today Show?” That moment became a turning point in my career.  I realized that a huge portion of my clientele—not everyone—but a large percentage of the important people I was working with were not only remarkably uncaring and insensitive, but I didn’t even want them in my world.  What a predicament! I shifted gears the next day, backed up, and headed down a different road with my career.  I was nice to that client, of course.  The answer to the Today Show question was the new blue suit, no patterns, soft lines, minimal jewelry. A few days later I fired her and a handful of others.  I am grateful to that client now for showing me a glimpse of a future place where I would never want to be … and I’m glad I had the guts to turn around and run toward a client base composed of much better humans.


RB: I’d like to say that I was secretly working from my hospital bed because I was so freaking dedicated, but there was more to it than that. I went into premature labor with my third child weeks before he was due. I was scared to death and there was nothing I could do about it. The doctor told me to relax.  Laying still is not how I relax. In fact, the stillness made me feel frantic. My husband knew that the best way for me to remain calm was to distract me with a project I was enjoying. So Mark got everything set up at my hospital bed. I didn’t want the client to know what was going on because that would’ve sucked the fun out of it. The client would have told me to stop. Instead, I stayed in bed, my husband hovered over me, we had a few laughs with the client, and we got some pretty good bookings from that hospital bed. Not how everyone would handle things, but looking back, it was the best thing for me and my family.


RB: Surround yourself with good people who will watch your back and will believe in you even when you wonder why. Then, try to see yourself as an entrepreneur. Build a franchise around who you are—you are the brand. Cultivate your audience carefully. Realize that your climb can be steep and many of the setbacks are everyone’s setbacks, not just the world against you personally. Most of all, accept that you are living through the birth of a new era. Writers can succeed as pioneers right now. Understand that it’s possible to utilize your book products as marketing tools as well as products.  The sky’s the limit.


RB: Well, that’s kind of a funny story. Here’s how I remember it: I simply adored (and still adore) the guy behind the pen name. He’d let me read a manuscript he’d written that I thought had tremendous merit. I desperately wanted to sell his work and he agreed to let me send his cool manuscript to a few editors who I knew—that is, editors who I knew the names of. I did my research and made my pitches. One editor who I really, really wanted to buy the manuscript wrote me the nicest rejection letter I had ever seen. I knew the guy was sorry he had to turn my client down. So I called that editor and chatted with him about all the glowing remarks he’d made in his rejection letter. I asked him what I could bring back to him from the same author that would compel him to make us an offer. He seemed a little surprised but he told me that he was buying gay novels. I had never actually read a gay novel, but I knew that my author possessed mad writing skills, so I said, “I’ll be back with the best proposal you’ve ever seen.” Then I called the author and said, “Sooo, got any ideas for a gay novel?” Of course he had a ton of ideas. Ben Tyler wrote the most hilarious proposal and that editor made an offer on Tricks of the Trade before it was even written.

Ben Tyler's first novel, TRICKS OF THE TRADE, agented by Robin Blakely

By the time the book was done, we had a three-book deal. It was the first gay novel I ever read. I loved the writer’s voice and the cover is simply fabulous—airbrushed underpants and all.


RB: I first heard of R.T. Jordan and his book But Darling, I’m Your Auntie Mame! from a writer at the Santa Barbara Writing Conference. Pretty soon, I got to meet him. When we chatted, his sense of humor and his incredible eye for detail just delighted me—still do. As fate would have it, R.T. Jordan signed up to be one of my publicity clients on my wedding day—which is why we always toast R.T. on our anniversary each year. That summer, we got to promote his book while he promoted the blockbuster movie Armageddon for Disney. Fast forward a few years and one of the biggest R.T. Jordan moments for me was when he launched the Polly Pepper Mystery series. I simply loved the characters from one of his earlier novellas and I wanted very much to see more of Hollywood icon Polly. R.T. dedicated that first book in the series to me. My dream for that line of books is a TV series. I’m a big TV fan of the hit series Monk and Colombo and I know Polly will translate to screen fabulously.


RB: Rebecca is amazing. Just last week she had three of her novels in the top 10 on Kindle’s legal thriller list. She kept bumping The Lincoln Lawyer for the #1 spot! And a fourth novel of hers was at number 18. I’m proud of all my clients on some important levels, but three of my clients stand out to me because they have become such dear family friends. I’ve worked with these three so long that it’s hard to find the seams between where their dreams end and my dreams for them begin. Each is giving, generous, and kind. Each has extreme talent and creativity, way above the norm. Rebecca Forster writes legal thrillers. Jen Singer writes humor. R.T. Jordan writes comedy mysteries. I am bursting with pride to be involved in some small way with their careers and in their lives.


RB: I wrote PR Therapy to address promotional outreach issues that can make or break a person’s success.


Many people with passion, especially creative thinkers who love to write, have some common hang-ups when it comes to promoting who they are and what they do. PR Therapy helps people do promotional outreach that’s rooted in authenticity, never artificial hype.


RB: PR Therapy is for anybody who has created their own product or service or who has to promote themselves as a brand.


RB: Technology has finally caught up with how I want to be able to work. It’s a very exciting time for me. My phone costs $100 a month and I can do everything on it. The future has finally arrived. When I started out I used to pay $400 a month just to talk, and the phone had a cord. I want to do more of what I have been doing, only in this new world of cool tools. I plan to write, consult with fun people, produce cool stuff, and enjoy my family.


RB: I’ve wanted to get back into radio for some time and I’m getting ready now to act as a segment producer for a business radio show.  So I am looking for business writers as guests. I love to write. I love to consult. I have several book projects that I am working on now. One is called Mojo Rehab. One is PR Therapy for Nonprofits. And there’s a top-secret strategy book that I am about to finish.


RB: A few years ago I bought a sign for my desk that expressed a particular sentiment that really resonated with me. The problem was the nice message by itself didn’t have enough oomph. It needed a touch of excitement, humor, drama. So I bought a large, scary-looking Godzilla monster to hold the little sign. I probably glance at that a dozen times a day, and it makes me smile. It’s how I recommend facing the world. Look Godzilla in the damn eye daily and as the little sign clearly states: “Make today the best day of your life.”


RB: I am accepting new clients! My coaching programs are affordable, fun, and very structured with homework and noted feedback. If you hire me, expect to work hard and get things done. E-mail me: Robin@robinblakely.com.


RB: My husband said that word would be ‘genuine.’ My oldest son and daughter independently said, ‘hardworking.’ My youngest son said, ‘smart.’ I think the best word is ‘happy.’

In conclusion, I’d add, EXTRAORDINARY!

Good friends recommend good books. With the demise of many independent bookstores, and some big chains such as Borders (who have the blood of the indies on their proverbial corporate hands) closing their doors, one no longer has the pleasure of roaming book store aisles and discovering a new title or author. We  at BTG rely on friends to make suggestion. There’s also the very cool website Good Reads. But if a trusted chum says, “You must read this!” we’re there!

Which is how we discovered On Wings of Affection by George Snyder.

After reading this classy, literary murder mystery set in contemporary West Hollywood, we did something we don’t often do––we sent an e-mail to the author telling him that we liked his work. Liked it a lot! Noted author/teacher/mentor Carolyn See suggests this practice of writing notes. (We once made a public spectacle of ourselves when we met our favorite comedy mystery writer Laura Levine at a friend’s book signing. However, we try to forget that instead of a note, we shamelessly slavered all over her.) Thankfully, Mr. Snyder is as gracious as he is talented and the next morning, we found a response from him in our in-box.

We’re not shy about snooping into others’ lives (even though famous authors intimidate us). However, our editorial director R.T. Jordan can’t be bothered with social etiquette. When he wants to chat up someone he admires, the boy next door disappears and Mike Wallace emerges. Here’s R.T.’s report.

On Wings of Affection

By R.T. Jordan

On Wings of Affection by George Snyder

It’s not often that I read an absorbing novel that takes place in my own neighborhood, with characters who are on the periphery of my social circle: The rich. Famous/infamous. Wannabees. Poseurs. Ne’er-do-wells. Etc. A beloved colleague in the office brought me a gift of a copy of On Wings of Affection. A gift indeed!  The Lambda Literary magazine calls On Wings of Affection, “… a recommended read for anyone wanting to spruce up the darkening days of autumn with the spirit of some summer-like exuberance.”

I bribed author George Snyder to have dinner with me with at Il Covo (try their risotto!!!) in West Hollywood. We shared an immediate sympatico and here’s some of what we talked about:


GS: Like Vera Charles I was born in Pittsburgh, so right away I knew I had to do something.  [Ed. Note. We like this man already!] My parents decamped soon after I was born, however, and moved north to a farm on Lake Erie.  Soon thereafter my father got the urge to move west and we did.  To Ohio.  Mother never cared much for Ohio, but my formative years were spent in that state.

Happily I had no trouble being accepted to the schools I applied to for college.  Unhappily they expected me to pay.  So my mother marched down to the Methodist church where she had some pull and called in a few favors, and I got to go to school on scholarship to a little Methodist liberal arts college in Ohio called Baldwin-Wallace.  Which was just as well; anything more exciting would have done me in.  Later I went on to graduate school at the University of Chicago but by that time I was vastly more experienced at making friends and getting into gay bars.  Chicago was fun.


GS: I always wanted to be a writer.  I romanticized the idea a great deal, I’m afraid.  My models were English lady novelists from that great period of novel-writing between the Wars.  So I aspired to be like Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Bowen, Molly Keene, and then later on I was profoundly influenced by the novels of Iris Murdoch and Muriel Spark.  I didn’t read many men until later.  As a marketing plan, it was probably doomed, patterning myself after these great ladies, but there you are.  I was a strange child.

George Snyder, Author, On Wings of Affection

I’ve always wanted to write novels, and people kept advising me to write short stories.  But I don’t like reading short stories very much, and the ones I tried to write reflected my disinterest.  A man whose work I did read, Truman Capote, said he always started out trying to write a short story and it would turn into a novel.  But really I like what Iris Murdoch said about novels, that the good ones are about love.  I do think that’s true and it’s why I love them.  Or the ones that are about love, at any rate.


GS: I did work in television, it was completely by accident.  I met a lovely man who was looking for an assistant.  Oh well, I said, I’m sure you want a pretty Cindy Lou Hoo to be your assistant, and he admitted he did, but then he said he thought his wife would prefer me.  Prefer that he have me, that is, instead of a cute blonde girl. And so he did.  Not, you know, “have” me, but he hired me and I was with him for 100 episodes of a show about a girl who slays vampires.  I learned so much from him.  He said he always thought it was a compliment in television to be suspected of being gay.  Gay or Jewish.  He was always flattered when people thought he was either, or both.  All the best people in television are gay or Jewish, was his opinion.


GS: On Wings of Affection grew out of my blog.  I’d gotten discouraged with my writing – I have a very hard time with rejection, and the endless sending out your manuscript to have it sent back unread or turned down – and a friend suggested I do a blog.  It was fun, and it was good writing exercise, and out of it a voice began to emerge.  With the voice came characters and the next thing I knew I had enough material to write the first book in this series I’m working on, the Sam, Pam and Didier Adventure Series, an episodic saga about life in the city of fallen angels.

Now I write every day.  I get up at five, turn on the lap top, open my current document, go put the water on for coffee, come back and start typing.  I always have the dimmest hope of producing anything worth the effort, and every day a couple of hours later I decide it wasn’t so bad and I give myself permission to go on living.  Then I close up, shower and dress and go to my day job.


GS: Yes, I have a day job.  Luckily.  There are days when I think it would be lovely to stay here and write all day, but the truth is, I need my time away from writing, and so it is very nice to have somewhere to go to.  But juggling a job and a writing career is never simple, is it.  I’ve tried different jobs and different combinations – I was a teacher, I worked in the auction business cataloguing books and manuscripts, I worked for a writer in television… I think whatever gives you structure and leaves some time left over for you to write is a good combination.  But it’s tricky.


GS: I love the cover of On Wings of Affection.

“Artsy” first cover idea for On Wings of Affection.

I loved my first effort which was an artsy effort with marbled paper and a handwritten label – something Virginia Woolf might have done at the Hogarth Press, you know? But it was great fun when friends suggested we get a nice young man to take his clothes off and photograph him leaning languidly, pensively in a window.  A lesbian friend of mine was horrified by the bulge in the underwear, but I told her we’d photo-shopped it down because in the original his penis was so enormous it was just too much of a distraction.  She screamed.

The title comes from a made-up translation of a Persian poem about birds – the excerpt I “translated” is on the title page.  People hate the title.  They think it sounds like a romance by one of those English lady novelists from between the wars.  Hello, that was the idea! It’s a book that’s literally for the birds!  HA!  The problem is, people have to read the book in order to find out that perhaps I’m being funny. At least a little bit.  Perhaps I was too subtle, do you think?


GS: Book Two in the series is called Down the Garden Path.  Now, I think that title should make it clear I’m not deadly earnest and serious – I’m leading the reader down the garden path, as in leading you astray, and having fun, and being silly.  A little.  I hope people ‘get it.’  It’s always hard to know, however, what people will get.  Book one was all about birds.  Book two is all about flowers and gardens and plants.  In Book one the evil decorator was Mr. Tanager.  In Book two I focus on the evil landscape architect, Beau Thorne.  He’s gorgeous and very ambitious.


GS: This is, by the way, the hardest thing I’ve ever done, showing up to write every morning even when I think it’s futile and pointless.  I don’t come from a world where people grow up to be novelists.  They grow up to be husbands and fathers and businessmen like my brothers.  But not novelists.  And yet, my family has been very nice about it, all things considered.  I’ve always been rather the black sheep, however.  At least I wasn’t locked away in a sheltered workshop and not allowed to mingle with the general population – there was a time when it was a bit touch and go on that front!

Now there’s not enough time in the day, of course, to do everything.  When I’m not writing or working, I like to read.  I’ve done lots of things in my life, but these days if I have free time I find myself coming back to my writing, or reading.  There’s so much to read, and I do love it.  Friends like to do things, and I go along, I do enjoy travel and museums and concerts and dinner parties and films, but as I said, there’s not enough time for everything, friends get annoyed.  You never want to do anything, they say.  You never have time.  No, I don’t!


GS: 1904 is my blog.  I started with 1904 because it’s a special year for me, so many of the people and things I love date from 1904, it’s the year The Cherry Orchard, Peter Pan, Madama Butterfly all premiered, the year Henry James’s The Golden Bowl (okay, one of the male novelists I like) was published, the year Nancy Mitford, Christopher Isherwood, Cecil Beaton, and Cary Grant were all born.  I rest my case!  But now 1904 is just about anything I decide I want to write about.  1904 is a way of organizing and framing my interests.  And once you start organizing and framing anything, you start giving it meaning and importance.  Look for meaning anywhere and you find it.  Or something close.  I love that.


GS: One word to describe me? Earnest. I do think I am.  And it’s important to be earnest.  And yes, there’s also the other meaning.  In Oscar Wilde’s time,  “Are you earnest?” was the equivalent of “Are you a friend of Dorothy’s?” or “Do you ride the short bus?”   Earnest is more than just code for gay, though.  I think it’s more a word to describe a sensibility.  Gay can mean going to the gym and going to clubs and going on websites like Man4Man and Adam4Adam.  Gay sensibility means all of that and Peter Pan and Madama Butterfly and Cecil Beaton and Nancy Mitford too.  The same but slightly different, if you know what I mean.

RTJ: Read a fascinating article written by George Snyder in the current issue of  The Advocate. It’s all about self-publishing and makes me want to haul out that dusty/musty manuscript that everyone turned down years ago and breathe new life into it. You may want to do the same after reading this piece.

Plays Well With Others. Or Not.
An essay in one (long) sentence that reminds us that Prince Charming is as fucked up as (back to him again) Hank Williams, Jr.

By Anonymous

Have you ever met someone and within a few seconds Roberta Flack is singing “The first time ever I saw your face” in your ear, and he shows you a picture of himself from the 1990s and you think, “Have I seen this before in Esquire or GQ?” and you know this person could make you happy today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life, and you can see the world in his luminous, wise eyes, and imagine that if you were to look at him over a candle-lit supper you might forget to breathe, and you think, At last!—this is the one I’ve been waiting for, all the others were pretenders, and suddenly you are outside yourself watching everything you do or say, measuring, calculating, strategizing, hoping he likes puppies and is kind to them, and then suddenly it’s the next morning and the last frames of Days and Wine and Roses are fading on the screen and the film unspools and clicks and clicks and clicks against the projector and there’s nothing but dust in the sickly yellow beam of light and you wonder if it was all a dream and you get up and make yourself a cup of coffee and you start another day and you give thanks for the wet nose that nudges your ankle and wants some love?


In the weeks/months that we’ve been trying to provide a personal understanding of, and compassion for, the millions of homeless people, we’ve introduced you to Mike, a friend of BRUISES THE GIN. (Read more about him in our archived editions.) We’re really psyched to have some exceptionally good news to report. As of last week, Mike has a job! He’s working at the Mazda car plant outside Detroit. The pay is just above minimum wage, and Mike is still homeless. But at least he can afford a motel room. We want to share this recent e-mail. It’s an affirmation of our intuitive feeling that Mike is a survivor.

MIKE: Started working Monday the 19th from 6:30 am –– 3:00 pm at the Ford/Mazda plant in Flat Rock, MI where they build the Ford Mustang and the Mazda 6.  It’s pretty cool, I drive the cars from the plant to the Warehousing lot across the street.  It’s pretty easy.  There is a shuttle van that picks me and the other drivers up (usually 4 or 5 other people) at the start of our shift, takes us over to the plant, drops us off near the line of finished Mustangs/Mazda 6s that have just rolled off the assembly line.  You get in a car, start it, blast the radio, and drive it across Vreeland Rd., a 4-lane road that separates the manufacturing plant from the huge lot across the street where you park the car in its assigned spot.  The parking spot is predetermined by the cars final destination, and whether it is being delivered by semi-truck or by rail.  The trick is finding the correct parking spot in the correct parking lot.  There are several different lots:  RE (Rail East), RW (Rail West), Tr (Truck), and then it gets into other lot names like SP (?), RX (?), RA (?), C Lot, and Glass (for Mustangs that are having their brand new roofs ripped off and replaced with a full glass roof).  If your paperwork says Tr-P-98, you take it to the Truck lot, Row P, spot 98.  Each lot is different – some lot spaces are alphabetized, some lot spaces are numbered, some are both, some are neither.  But the best part is that I get to listen to the radio all day, and drive some pretty sweet Mustang BOSS 302s and Shelby Mustang GT500s!  Not bad for a car geek, huh?  A job driving cars!

[Ed. Note: Mike didn’t give up. Change was forced upon him. He was scared shitless. He was humiliated. He starved. He asked himself if he shouldn’t simply end his life. Thanks for not giving up on yourself, Mike. You’re an inspiration to us, and I’m certain that every reader who has followed your path through BTG, is as thrilled as we are.]

Mike’s most recent e-mail correspondence: Well, I’m off to my humble abode, aka Clearview Motel Room #4.  I’m gonna make tacos and watch Two and a Half Men later.  I never watched it when Charlie Sheen was on, but I was so intrigued by the addition of Ashton that now I’m kinda hooked. 


We’re delighted that so many readers participated in our combination quiz and cry for help in the September 15 edition of BTG. We asked for confirmation of the correct attribution for the quote, “Scratch an actor and you’ll find an actress.” Many of our readers proved that the attribution was indeed Dorothy Parker (as we always suspected). Our randomly selected correct devoted reader, Chris O’Brien, from Ann Arbor, Michigan wins a subscription to Musical Stages magazine. Check it out our September 15 edition of BTG for an enlightening interview with Lynda Trapnell, the owner and publisher of Musical Stages. You’ll want to subscribe, too.


We’re concluding this edition of BRUISES THE GIN, with an intriguing gallery of images created by the California-based Photoshop artist/author Andrew W.M. Beierle (whose work has appeared in recent editions of this E-zine/blog). Be prepared to start talking about this emerging artist!

Beierle loves to poke fun at the GOP. But then, they are such an easy target. Is Sarah worried about what she has unleashed among Michelle, Mitt, and Rick?

Brangelina, up close and personal! Perhaps too close!

If we can have “Diana at 50” why not JFK at 94 and Jayne Mansfield at 78? A boy can dream, can't he?

Yes, we make potty jokes, but they are PATRIOTIC potty jokes!


Edited by R.T. Jordan
, etc.


So, a homeless guy walks up to a stranger and says, “I haven’t eaten in so long I’ve forgotten how it tastes.” Stranger says, “It tastes about the same.”
“Knock-knock.” Forget it. Knock-knock jokes are completely wasted on the homeless.

BOO! HISS!!  Yeah, we feel the same outrage that you do. We are completely unhinged and on board with your indignation. There’s absolutely no levity in homelessness. Plus, jokes about the homeless are as difficult to come up with as reasons to buy Dick Cheney’s new autobiography. N’est-ce pas?

Unlike the plethora of Helen Keller jokes: What was Helen Keller’s favorite color? Corduroy. How did Helen Keller’s parents punish her? They left the plunger in the toilet. What did Helen Keller say when she found the cheese grater? It was the most violent book she’d ever read.

Or blonde jokes: Three blondes were walking through the forest when they came upon a set of tracks. The first blonde said, “Those are deer tracks.” The second blonde said, “No, those are elk tracks.” The third blonde said, “You’re both wrong, those are moose tracks.” The blondes were still arguing when the train hit them. Q: What do you call a swimming pool full of blondes? A: Frosted Flakes.  Q: What job function does a blonde have in an M&M factory? A. Proof reader.

Or the gutter variety lame (but still funny) jokes: Two guys are walking down the street and see a dog on the lawn, licking his balls.  One guy says to the other, “Man, I sure wish I could do that.” The other guy says, “Don’t you think you ought to pet him first?”

Okay, so there’s a really good reason why there aren’t a lot of jokes about homeless people.


(It’s far worse than that totally gross, but apparently becoming common practice among new mothers of eating their placenta, ya know that bloody after birth discharge messy stuff. Placenta paté? Placenta omelets? Placenta polenta? At least she has something to eat!)

Illustration by Mark Machto for TIME

(And not in a
moist fun way)

We at BRUISES THE GIN have a former colleague whose address is wherever his car is parked. We’re totally reeling about the situation. Makes us jazzed to get our own mortgage statements each month and know that we can pay the insane price of property in SoCal. That goes for tax and insurance bills, utilities, refuse hauling, gardener, pool man, handyman, cleaning lady, bug exterminator, cell phone and cable TV invoices as well as the frivolous amounts of moolah we spend at that coffee place that’s so ubiquitous they no longer even use their name on the their logo. We seriously don’t mind paying these bills!

R.T. Jordan

Scuzzy apartment building.

Until a couple of years ago, Mike, a friend of BRUISES THE GIN, worked in Hollywood. In the film publicity biz. At The Walt Disney Studios. He wasn’t an exec, just a hard-working “cast member.” So this guy decides to do something to better his life. To continue his formal education. Long story short, he’s accepted into a good school. Moves to Michigan. Does well with his classes. Then the economy tanks, like Obama’s approval rating. Guy is laid off from a part-time job. Can’t find another. Even a soul-numbing gig behind the Clinique counter at freakin’ Macy’s. Guy runs out of money. Forced to drop out of school. Lives on potatoes  (for the cost and various ways of preparation, he said). Eventually, can’t pay his rent. Loses apartment. Moves in with a friend. Friend changes her mind. Guy gets a room in an icky motel @ $35.00 a night. Eventually runs out of what little coin he’d saved. Sleeps in his car. Calls parents for help. Is told to go away. Hits a homeless shelter in Detroit. Conditions are so appalling and dangerous he flees. Police hassle him for sleeping in his car parked on a residential street. Cell phone gets turned off. All communication, save for using the internet at libraries, is gone. What the hell is he (or anyone in this predicament) to do? When one falls so far down that deep hole, how does one climb back up and crawl out without showering for an interview, or having a phone to receive a job offer? How did this happen to Mike? How could it have been avoided? Crappy karma? A broken mirror? Voodoo spell? Bio-waste known as “Scary Shari” Draper, choking the life-force energy out of every being on the planet (an inside joke that Mike, and readers of the Ben Tyler novel Tricks of the Trade and a buncha Hollywood insiders will get.)

"Scary Shari" Draper. On a good day.

There’s no happy ending. Yet.


These are some of the notes we receive now and again from our homeless chum. We don’t know how he manages to maintain a decent sense of humor, but he actually does. More power, man. [Ed. note: Verbatim]

“Yep, it sucks.  I just went out to the parking lot and cried in my car!  I haven’t slept in 3 nights.  I slept a little (maybe two hours) at that sketchy Salvation Army, where I didn’t shower.  Too many crackheads, and everything I own is in my car.  My Low Fuel light is on in my car.  

I can’t drive anywhere, but I can’t stay in this town. I just want one night of sleep without worrying the cops will now notice my moving van (car) again. I switched neighborhoods last night but of course a cop cruised by slowly at 4am (I was still up and watching every set of headlights) so I left for fear that he’d turn around.  Headed to Meijer and just sat there. Then here to the library where I’ve been for 7 hours. No food, just drinking fountain water.  I could barely read anything because it was all blurry.  I think I may have seen an article on how sleep deprivation can kill you 🙂  I may have a place to be starting Thursday, but I’ll never make it!”

An expected follow-up: “He more or less backed out.  Or seemed apprehensive.  He did buy me Chicken McNuggets though.  I saw his house, definitely decorated by a woman in the 1950s.  Anyways, he just didn’t say much and when I left he said “let me know how it goes.”  The decor wouldn’t have worked for me anyway, primarily due to his lack of a TV….. no TV!?”

Just this morning: I doubt he’ll change his mind. But, it doesn’t really matter anyway, I’m getting used to disappointment 😦  On a positive note, I did work 8 hours yesterday.  $48!  Since I hadn’t showered in a week I got my motel room for $35, $10 in gas (which, given the current gas prices, amounted to just over 1/4 tank) and $2 in food. I was left with one dollar.  But by 11pm last night I couldn’t sleep because I was STILL so hungry. I laid in bed last night contemplating how I would spend that one dollar on food today. But then it occurred to me, if I only have one dollar to eat on Friday, that will leave me with nothing to eat on Saturday. Then, being so hungry and only having the one dollar, I figured what difference did it make whether I had no food on Friday or whether it was no food on Saturday? So, at 11:30pm last night I made a beeline for Taco Bell and spent my last dollar.  I chose to begin my “no food” regiment today. Now, if I were a smart man, I would have skipped the motel, put more $$ in my gas tank, and had more $$ for food.  But my body was SO dirty. I hadn’t changed clothes all week, including underwear and socks.  In fact I could feel my feet sticking to the insides of my shoes.  I badly needed to wash. I hope another job comes up soon, but with it being Friday, I’ll most likely have to wait until Monday morning to see if something else turns up on the job front. And that’s only a “maybe.” It’s gonna be a loooong weekend.”


We’re just sayin’ that this dude, and every other dislocated human being on the planet, was once someone’s baby, with a clean slate and unlimited potential. With a smile. Who cried. Wanted hugs. And plush animal toys. And more hugs. And more kisses. All the body contact stuff that every  miraculous soul in the universe needs and craves and of which no number of iPad2s or 80” flat screen televisions or

My eyes say it all. I'm totally scared. I just want my life to turn out happy.

Starbucks double ristretto venti nonfat organic chocolate brownie frrappuccino extra hot coffees can ever take the place.

The world is a contradiction between the platinum haves and hungry have-nots. It’s Jen Aniston constantly in your face obvious. If you’ve got IT (whatever commodity IT is this week), unzip it, bring it out for public display in the perfect California sunshine and show it off for fun and profit beside your pebble-teched swimming pool––the one with the built-in liquor bar and the salt water hot tub and the fixed underwater digital camera for catching skin and genitalia for your collection of pool porn). Build that McMansion on the corner lot. Out-do Louis XVI with a super-sized Beverly Hills estate. But for god’s sake, avert your eyes from anything remotely unpleasant like um, er, headline news. Stick to the “reality” of The Real Wives of Beverly Hills, Millionaire Matchmaker, or Fat Daddy Wants to Buy a Freakin’ Trophy Baby Wife. Ya know? The important stuff.

So. To Mike. To every other hungry and displaced being on the planet facing an unexpectedly (and temporary) derailed life and asking the totally reasonable questions: “What the f***? How am I going to survive another minute, hour, day? I’m alone and afraid, but what can I do?” We at BTG are getting all metaphysical and tree-huggy and Zen on you and saying that “thoughts are things” and we’re absolutely sending you our most powerful thought vibrations for serenity and peace and jobs and food and clothes and apartments and girlfriends and transcendent love and sex and soap bubbles filled with unlimited possibilities and Napa Valley wines.

We’d at least like to offer the following government information for any of you who are homeless or know someone who is homeless: http://portal.hud.gov:80/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/homelessness

$ $ $

For Immediate Attention.


Note to Michele: Leave it to the Pros, Honey!

Dear bright, empathetic and amazingly indulgent readers of BTG, we’re totally taking advantage of this untapped metropolitan media market called homelessness, the way Michele Bachmann and her dreamy chubby hubby Marcus’ reparative therapy center exploits men and women who are told to loathe themselves ’cause their biological natures are in polar opposition to a godless church teaching, or they’re from families of cretin Creationists like the fence straddling Rick Perry, or whatever. BTG Network (BGN), our all-new cable outlet, is launching HOMELESS but not CHROMELESS: The New Upwardly Mobile,™ an original unscripted television series that’s certain to make the rest of us feel good about our Nestle Crunch Bars lot in life.


BRUISES THE GIN NETWORK in HD! (Illustration by Andrew W.M. Beierle)

Taking its place among the most satanic shows in the pantheon of reality series, such as Celebrity Detox Camp, Whose Your Daddy and Britain’s Worst Teeth, each weekly episode, will feature an attractive homeless person (casting for John Benjamin Hickey look-a-likes) with nothing more than his Honda, Mercedes or Dodge Ram (shopping carts not accepted) and the total lifetime accumulation of physical possessions all stuffed into the trunk and every available interior space. It’s Hoarders meets Pimp My Ride meets Extreme Makeover: Cardboard Refrigerator-Box Edition. Our LHP (Lucky Homeless Person), unaware that the crock of crap we’re throwing on him isn’t just another episode in a life-long sequence of waking nightmares, will be evicted from his vehicle by a Kardashian posing as a hot repo agent, and stalked throughout the week by a hidden camera spying on LHP as he goes from raiding trash cans to peeing in storm drains to modeling at freeway off-ramps in a desperate search for the meaning of life. If he’s not dead from malnutrition, hypothermia or another homeless person beating his brains against a curb for LHP’s shoes, he’ll be reunited with his all-new classy chassy.

Illustration by Andrew W.M. Beierle

Imagine LHP’s surprise when he sees how we’ve invaded the only private space he had left in the universe.


* Full wine rack
* Exercise area

* Library of cookbooks and bound compilations of
Architectural Digest

* Krups coffee maker

Illustration by Andrew W.M. Beierle

* Game area
* Diaper changing station
* Pet kennel

* Home theater
* Laundry area
* Day spa


We’ve invited noted Los Angeles interior designer Mark Reinhart to create a sketch of revamped wheels for this otherwise shelterless John Doe.

A native of Merrillville, Indiana, Reinhart has spent his life in the arts. From an early age he studied art, music, scenic design, voice, acting, choreography and piano. For 25 years he appeared in musical theater productions directed and produced by his parents. After graduating from Indiana University he relocated to California where he created LASTING IMPRESSIONS,  a design firm which provides complete interior makeovers, custom murals, illustrations and graphic designs. Among Reinhart’s most admired work is the Hollywood Hills home re-do he created for novelist Ben Tyler (“Tricks of the Trade”)

Hollywood Hills home designed by Mark Reinhart

and his partner of a hundred thousand years, composer/lyricist Billy Barnes (“Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?”).

"Whenever you're tired of something (or some one), redecorate!" -- Mark Reinhart

“Our hill-top home reflects our uncluttered lifestyle, of which the homeless would be the first to appreciate,” says Tyler who generously invited scavengers to the “dumpster-do” in which he had tossed practically everything the couple had collected during their centuries old union.

“How many Tiffany & Co. sterling silver pen and pencil sets does a family need?” asks Barnes.

“We’re very philanthropic. Screenwriters sleep on our couch in the media room,” Tyler adds.

Tyler and Barnes enjoy hosting intimate dinner parties at their Hollywood Hills pied-à-terre and give leftovers to Rico, who lives in the bushes near their home.


MR: Keep it simple, personal, uncluttered and inviting. All at a discounted price of course!
MR: Probably not seeing the big picture. Most people get focused on one thing and don’t realize how it will connect or reflect on everything else in the room. You want to make a room visually balanced.
Bold colors are very popular now with vivid blues, greens, orange, pinks and purples being everywhere. It’s still popular to mix old and new pieces in a room.
MR: I think the next “trend” will revolve around new technologies coming into households. This will expand upon the concept of mixing new technologies with things that have a sense of history.
MR: Most TV design shows will give you ideas rather than “how to” information. For ideas, I like Divine Design and for outdoors, Curb Appeal. Both are on HGTV.
MR: I’ve always loved Arts & Crafts style. I really think the color pallete and the natural woods used are both beautiful and striking.
MR: One of my favorite designers is Candice Olsen on HGTV. I love how she re-purposes a room. It’s always perfectly designed from the lighting to the floors and with great taste. Another favorite designer is a friend Mark Zancanaro (www.markzancanarodesign.com). I love his level of taste. Never too much or too little. Always the right combination of materials that makes a room inviting.
MR: I’m sure everyone has a different opinion about this. But I think whenever you’re tired of something, redecorate. Especially if it’s been 10 years or more.
MR: I would do Hugh Jackman’s home. A trip to Australia and hang with Hugh. Need I say more? [Ed note. ‘Nuf said, indeed!]

Let’s take a look at what our divine designer has come up with for his big creative challenge: Making a homeless person feel at home. In his car.

We think we’d be ultra comfortable in this amazing car. Truckers at rest stops will be impressed enough to keep Homer Homeless warm at night.

Be sure to tune in to the BRUISES THE GIN NETWORK (BGN) for HOMELESS but not CHROMELESS, as well as these other great new shows:

DUMPSTER DIVING WITH THE STARS! (Illustration by Andrew W.M. Beierle)

Illustration by Andrew W.M. Beierle

Visit us again on September 15. We’ll be profiling two amazing and talented women in the arts: The legendary LYNDA TRAPNELL, owner and editor of Musical Stages, Europe’s most prominent and respected theater magazine, as well as ALEXIS IACONO, the star of the new indie suspense film, Prescott Place.

Until then, it’s still summertime, so take your eyes off your handy-dandy computer porn and open an engrossing book. Here’s a very fun whodunit, that we absolutely MAD ABOUT and which is perfect for taking to the pool or Martha’s Vineyard or for reading during that long wait to be rescued in the river that used to be your street until hurricane Irene came along and washed away the road: Dorothy Howell’s CLUTCHES AND CURSES.


On behalf of the tireless staff of BRUISES THE GIN (especially  Andrew W.M. Beierle for creating amazing visuals), we thank you for taking the time to read our diatribes and intensely vituperative (your word of the week) condemnations of some of the most beastly aspects of the condition known as being human. We hope you’ll subscribe to this E-zine/blog and check in with us on the 1st and 15th of each month. We promise plenty of vitriol (where required), Butylated hydroxyanisole, deep fried mayonnaise balls and of course, a map (with roadside attractions icons) of the path to the one True God: Hephaestus, Allah, Jehovah, Pele, Brighid, Anteros, Yèuhuang Taiz, and the thousands of other authentic, legit, genuine, historical, honest-to-goodness Divine Mind Godheads!

Peace! Serenity! Subscribe!

HAPPY FEET: An Interview with the Dancer’s Dancer, FRED CURT … But First …

Stir, never shake ...

Editor: R.T. Jordan


At BRUISES THE GIN we live to foment debate and insurrection and mildly indecent or inappropriate social behavior. Our office shrink blames the lack of tact represented in this Ezine/blog on poor potty training and/or breast-feeding that lasted far later in life than Dr. Oz  recommends.

Thanks, for the mammary ...

We’re thinkin’ the root cause of our inability to play well with others is probably the parental ridicule and punishment received while going through the anal stage in our psychosexual development (talk to Freud). Retentive? Expulsive? It’s  two, two, two mints in one!

BTG is a lot of things about A LOT of trifles––mostly anything that departs from an accepted social standard (which is actually the definition of aberrant!). So of course we went nutsy-cuckoo for the lovely and talented Neil Patrick Harris performing Adam Schlesinger and David Javerbaum’s tasty special material, Not Just for Gays Anymore, as the opening production number on this year’s Tony® Awards show. (See it here on YouTube.) Yeah, old news, but bear with us, it ties in with everything we stand for.

Who's the adorable puppy? You are! You are!

The sophisticated and campy lyrics are reminiscent of  legendary Billy Barnes’ best special material extravaganzas for the Academy Awards® telecasts in the 1970s. The Schlesinger/Javerbaum song/performance obviously scrunched up Brooke Shields’  Victoria’s Secret panties, and we’re hoping it did the same for millions of others watching.

Unable (and not really trying) to get the song (or Mr. Harris) out of our collective thoughts, we at BRUISES THE GIN are reminded that there has always been a guesstimated gazillion freakishly talented and primarily anonymous peeps out there who contribute as much as any so-called “star” to the success/flop of musicals on Broadway and in Hollywood or even church basement productions of Tits a Wonderful Life. (The exception being the Westboro Baptist Community Church with their bake and hate sale, demon roasting contest and Christian Kids Say the Most Malevolent Things Protest Sign Painting workshop, run buy the FDA rejected piece of horse meat who goes by the name of Fred Phelps.)

Ed. Note: Cick here for substantiated proof that some religions are like Raid on roaches.

Think of the anonymous tuxed-out dudes surrounding Marilyn Monroe in the Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Of course MM is lickably sensuous, but really, with the exception of shakin’ her impressive lady parts, her coterie of beaus are doing ALL the heavy lifting.

Another thought. Glee. Ya know that ubiquitous guy who never speaks but just happens to be at the piano in the McKinley High School glee club rehearsal room ready to accompany the kids whenever they want to emote with a song about the satisfaction of sticky sex and the hay ride of teen pregnancy and the transcendence of boys sniffing other boys, and whose real name is Brad Ellis? Well, he’s a hugely talented but relatively unheralded (except among his peers here in Hollywood) composer, musical director, orchestrator and jazz pianist. He’s crawling out of anonymity and it’s about time! (Also see Ron Abel at his piano on Fran Drescher’s actually sorta kinda funny new sitcom, Happily Divorced.)

Keepin' it cool, Brad Ellis.

Therefore, in this edition of BRUISES THE GIN, as much as we value our Gaga and Beyoncé and Katy Perry and Bieber (Ed. note: Totally jerking your joint about the Bieb), we’re calling attention to one of the great “Who’s that guy?” talents you’ve seen in every old movie musical (if you’re of an age) but never knew who the super talented stud was. Our guest interviewee for this edition of BTG is the dancer’s dancer and choreographer (and sweetheart of a talented guy), MR. FRED CURT.


by R.T. Jordan

“Dancing with the feet is one thing,
but dancing with the heart is another.”


You’ve seen Fred Curt in a gazillion feature films, including  Hello, Dolly!, Bye, Bye, Birdie, Gypsy, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Pajama Game, Paint Your Wagon, Carousel, Mame and Lost Horizon, to name only a fraction of his movie creds. How ‘bout B’way and national tours: Call Me Madam, Guys and Dolls and Pardon Our French. We can only begin to get into his television work because it’s so extensive, but we’ll mention The Ed Sullivan Show, The Mitzi Gaynor Hour

Brilliant and beautiful Mitzi Gaynor

(Ed note: we love our Mitzi and want her to play sleuth Polly Pepper in the television series adaptation of the popular Polly Pepper mystery novels!), Carol Channing Specials, Bob Hope specials, etc. Way too much for this limited space.

♠ ♣ ♦

So, let’s talk to Fred Curt. (Perhaps we’ll find out why almost everyone still says that Jerome Robbins was a dick to work for.)

A New England Yankee, transplanted at an early age from Massachusetts to Newark, New Jersey, Fred says he started dancing “After I made the fatal mistake of going with my mother to a cousin’s dance recital. I watched and thought, that might be fun. I could do all the gymnastic things on my own. So I said, instead of becoming a doctor, I’d like to try dance.”

All was well and good with Fred’s mom, but  dad was a different pair of toe shoes. “I said to my mother that I’d like to go to dancing school. She said, ‘I don’t know about your father.'”

As expected the senior Mr. Curt had what we now call a meltdown. Fred says, “He screamed and ranted, ‘I don’t want any flame …’ In the ’20s and ’30s, when he was around, ‘flame’ meant a gay person. But my mother knew how to take care of it. She pointed out, ‘Is Fred Astaire a flame?’ My father lost that one.”

Our Fred began his study by taking tap and acrobatic dance. After a few months of diligence and proving his talent and dedication, his teacher suggested that he also take ballet classes. Round two with Fred’s dad was again lost when the now tried and true, “Is Fred Astaire a flame?” retort was invoked. “I took ballet one hour a week for like three months,” Fred says. “Then the teacher said to my mother that I should come to New York on Saturdays to take her class with professionals.”

Fred in Walt Disney's feature film "Pete's Dragon"

Fred went to NYC, and although he says it was tough, he kept up with the professionals in class. Then, one day the dancers were talking about an open call audition for a Broadway show. Newbee to the theater that teenager Fred was, he asked, “What’s an open call?” The so-called “kids” explained, then suggested he go with them, if only to hang out.

“I remember it was summer,” Fred says. “I was wearing a striped shirt, and we went to the theater. I stayed out of the way watching from backstage. Near the end of the day, the people I was with didn’t get picked, so they waved for me to leave with them. As I walked across the stage, a female voice from the audience said, ‘Does the young man in the striped shirt dance?’

“Ninety people looked down at their chest and I was the only one with a striped shirt, so I pointed at myself and the voice said, ‘Yes.’ And I said, I dance a little.”

Fred reminds us that this was his first time on a theater stage and the light shining from the house made it impossible for him to see who was in the audience. “The voice said, ‘Would you dance for me?’ I didn’t want to be impolite so I said, Okay. She told me what to do and I did a few jetés. Then she asked if I could do acrobatics. I said, yes. And then she wanted to know if I could do a cartwheel. I said, One hand or two?  She asked, ‘Can you do them without hands?’ I said yes. I did the cartwheels and she said, ‘Thank you very much.’ Then I left the stage.

“As I was exiting with my friends the stage manager came over and said, ‘You. Striped shirt. Go stand at the end of that line.’ He pointed to where seven guys were on stage. I took my place and the woman’s voice asked, ‘The young man with the striped shirt. What’s your name?’ I said, Fred Curt. With a C. I stood back and waited a moment then raised my hand and lead forward. She said, ‘Yes?’ And  asked, What’s your name?

“The whole line gasped! And without a beat or hesitation she said, ‘Agnes de Mille. With a D.’ She hired me.”

Agnes de Mille

And thus began Fred Curt’s life as a professional dancer. The show was the national tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical, Allegro. After working in that production, Mr. Curt almost immediately went into another national touring company, the musical revue Inside U.S.A., by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, and starring the legendary Bea Lillie.

Bea Lillie

With a weekly paycheck of $85.00, and having to pay for his own accommodations on the road, Curt and his austerity-conscious fellow dancers ghosted hotel rooms to save on their dough. As he explains, “Ghosting was when one person signed for a room, and four of us would live in the room to split the costs. It worked out just fine, as long as we were all out before the maid came in!”


FC: Barbra. She was smaller than I thought she would be. Shorter. I couldn’t wait to work with her. She was wonderful to us on Hello, Dolly! She really was. I loved her, and had every album by then. I loved working with her and she was just so professional. So right on.


FC: Natalie Wood was the sweetest … she was just so real. She was the nicest person and she was one of the most beautiful women in the world. Gorgeous, sweet, so petite. I was afraid to pick her up for fear I’d break her. I cried for days after I found she had died.


FC: Roz Russell was the only reason I wanted to do Gypsy. Jerry (Robbins) called and asked me to do the role of Caroline (the cow). I (jokingly) said, I don’t do animals. Then I said I’d do the front end. I remember standing on set one day and a voice said to me, ‘Isn’t it hot in there?’ I said, Yes, Miss Russell. She was a lovely lady. I just fell in love with her. She was very arthritic and at the end of each take she had what looked like a little square silver box or bag that she’d put in between her hands, which were very crippled. It was a heater for her hands. But the minute they would say, ‘We’re ready,’ her hands would straighten out. Roz was a true professional, and so nice to everyone. A brilliant actress.


FC: Strange man. I met Bob Fosse when I was dancing on The Jackie Gleason Show, before Bob was Bob Fosse. He was very nice to me. We did Pajama Game and Damn Yankees together. In fact, I was supposed to do six weeks of work on Sweet Charity with him. He found out that Michael Kidd had offered me a year of work on Hello, Dolly! But I’m the kind of guy who if I said yes to a shorter job and a longer one comes along, I’ll go with the first. Bob was really nice. He called Michael and said, ‘Freddy’s going to come to work for you.’ I didn’t know about that until an assistant told me the story.

Bob was brilliant in what he did, but that comes from Jack Cole and from being with Gwen Verdon. If there was no Jack Cole, there’d be no Gwen Verdon, and if there wasn’t Gwen Verdon, there’d be no Bob Fosse. Bobby was good, but the Gwen Verdon touch on Bobby came from Jack Cole, all the hats and fingers, that’s Jack. Most choreographers are very nice. It’s the insecure ones that are terrible


FC: No. I don’t think Jerome Robbins was insecure. I think he didn’t know what he wanted out of life. Being gay I think scared him a lot. I don’t know. One day on Peter Pan he yelled at us all day long. Then after it was over, he called out, ‘Hey Fred!’ I was afraid to answer. He asked what I was doing for dinner. I thought oh, my god I’m getting fired. So we went out to dinner and he was very charming. But he said, ‘You know what really turns me off? When people yell at other people so much.’ I nearly fell off my chair!

But Jerome Robbins was brilliant. There was no one more brilliant as a choreographer. He could go from musical comedy to ballet to anything else. I think maybe his brilliance was the problem. But he could have yelled at me all day and I’d still work for him. It would be an honor to work for him.


FC: Oh Chita! She’s like my kid sister. We were both teenagers and first dance partners when we started. We can go for a long time without hearing from each other but then pick right up as if no time has passed. For example, I hadn’t seen her in a long time and she came to Pasadena to do Kiss of the Spider Woman. I was working wardrobe and she came walking in. I’m in the wings and she was coming in from the bright sun to the darkend theater, so she couldn’t see me. I didn’t move. Then, when she got near me I cleared my throat and said, ‘Oh, the famous diva!’ She adjusted her eyes, looked at me, and yelled, ‘Freddy!’ She  grabbed me and pulled me on stage and began telling everyone that I was her first dance partner. She went on and on and told great stories about us.


FC: I love Tommy. He’s very nice. When he came in to do Hello, Dolly! the movie, that’s when I met him. Very talented and very sweet.

¤ ¤ ¤

When one spends time with Fred Curt, it becomes obvious why he’s adored not only by his wide coterie of friends, co-workers and of course, dancers. He exudes a love for people, as well as his life and his accomplishments in the arts. We asked, What has been the highlight of your life? Without a moment’s hesitation he said, “Residuals!”

However, after a quick laugh Mr. Curt added, “I got to do what made me happy. I got to meet so many wonderful people. Dancing came from my heart. It was fulfilling. It was freedom. Even when you fell down, you picked yourself up, you laughed about it and kept going. Sometimes I was on the most glamorous movie sets. Hello, Dolly! was certainly the most glamorous I’d ever been on. Dancers who are dancers from the heart all have something in common: camaraderie. If you ever watch So You Think You Can Dance you’ll see it. The minute that someone gets picked the others are hugging them.”

Mr. Curt continues to work in the theater, although these days it’s backstage at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, where he has been a costumer since 1985. When we indelicately asked the stupid question, When did you decide to hang up your tap shoes? Mr. Curt replied, “I haven’t, yet! I just don’t make my living as a dancer anymore.” He further explained, “One day I was somewhere with Chita, and someone asked me ‘What do you do?’ I said, Oh, I used to be a dancer. Chita said, ‘STOP!’ She looked at me and chewed me out. She said, ‘Don’t you ever say that again! Once a dancer, always a dancer!’

“Mentally you never stop. Physically, you have to. But I’ve been very lucky,” Mr. Curt concludes. “I’ve danced longer than anybody I know. Age is a state of mind. If you move to the wrong state, you’re dead,” he says with a sardonic grin.

THANK YOU, MR. CURT. It was enormous fun spending time with you.

(Ed. Note: Be sure to click on the above referenced links to see some of Fred Curt’s amazing work in Hollywood motion pictures.)

† † †


For a swell time, text The Beast at 6666666

The August 1 edition of BRUISES THE GIN elicited some curious (or perhaps not so curious) expressions of disapproval by several groups of religious servants (which was sorta/kinda the point of the piece in the first place). However, at BTG, we only truly enjoy throwing kerosene on conflagrations that are likely to further augment the flames of apocryphal rumors such as the richly satisfying and smoothly digestible one about slattern Ann Coulter contracting a STD after a slumber party at the Stonewall Democratic Club or Rick Santorum being exposed by airport security body scans as wearing alligator clips on his #2 pencil eraser-size nips or anything that reeks of political or sexual hypocrisy in Washington or your local rectory or a Hollywood celebrity colon irrigation spa.

Therefore, although the Internet is jammed with multi-gigabytes of corroborating texts tattling on The Watchtower Society for their supposed more than a century of pleasuring their biddables with a soul-scratching seven different dates for the downbeat to the Armageddon Symphony, we’ll play along and borrow a line from the lyric to the Gershwin Bros. song, It Ain’t Necessarily So.


As our Jehovah’s Witness friends remind us:

(Source: Awake! 3/22/93 pg. 4)

Armageddon, or the set of any Michael Bay movie.

With those sage words to keep us moist, we at BTG would like to acknowledge that just because a few Eeyores have assiduously chronicled the many End Times predictions faux pas from among a ton o’ so-called “prophets” throughout the past couple thousand years, we don’t wish to imply that any “true religion” has a patent on holy book(s) misinterpretations. When it comes to scripture, ya gotta take it all with a grain of what’s left of that pillar of Ruth.

Post Rapture yard work. "Daddy. Did Jesus kill Timmy because he was a homo?"

Just as we don’t know the exact moment when/if the research monkeys that are strapped to gurneys in the lab down here in the basement where we rent our office space are going to rip off the electrodes pasted to their shaved skulls and rush to disembowel the staff and snack on our respective pancreases and livers and brains, and genitals and such, the time of the end of the world as we know it is just as uncertain, and as random (and as intensely icky) as playing spin the bottle and having said bottle point to Newt Gingrich. We’re just sayin’.


In the last edition of BRUISES THE GIN, a few celebs offered up their lists of ten things they wouldn’t want to be on the planet without in a post-rapture/apocalypse world. We asked our readers to submit their own lists. A cool prize (Laura Levine’s latest funny murder mystery, PAMPERED TO DEATH, was offered for the best top 10 list.

Our winning entry was easy to select, mainly because we only received three.  But here it is. Sent by Paul Raskin, from New York, New York.


1. Lithium. Although it’s possible that what made me bi-polar in the first place is all the other people who used to be on the planet with me.
2. The Kingda Ka roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, mainly because I love throwing up hot dogs and coke and pizza and nachos in public places.
3. Cameron Diaz movies. She makes me laugh. And makes me think that her pits smell like jasmine.
4. Disneyland. Although I would personally dismantle the “It’s A Small World” ride. That too, may be the cause for my need for lithium.
5. Books, of course. Since there won’t be any new ones printed, I might catch up on the classics. However, if the only book left on the planet is Silas Marner, I’ll kill myself before having to relive high school lit class all over again.
6. Condoms won’t be necessary. But porn will definitely prove useful.
7. Wine! Who needs any other source of hydration?
8. Metamucil. With all the crap I’ll be eating, since there won’t any pizza places or deli’s, I’ll need the extra push in the bathroom.
9. Nail clippers. Even though I’m alone, therefore no will care about the length of my toe nails, personal grooming will still be important.
10. Classical music. Wagner will suit the first few days of carnage. After that, I’ll need Ravel and Debussy and Doris Day and The Mamas and the Pappas and The Beatles and Air Supply.

Ed. Note: We wish Paul success with his bi-polar issues. We agree that Silas Marner is a killer. Therefore, Paul wins the prize: an autographed copy of Laura Levine’s laugh-out-loud murder mystery, PAMPERED TO DEATH. BTW, we couldn’t wait for the official release of this latest work in Levine’s Jaine Austen mystery series, so if the dust jacket appears a little smudged, it’s because it’s been read and circulated around the office. Everyone at BTG, without exception, highly recommends this novel. However, we now have to wait a full year for another book from Levine. Pooh!

We’ll be back on September 1 with the next edition of BRUISES THE GIN. Our editorial staff intern will circulate a general warning in advance as a heads up to anyone freaking out about our next societal plight  to  lambaste: Interior design, for the home and the homeless.

Contact us at www.Bruisesthegin.com, or www.Rtjordan.com

"AMERICAN IDOL meets GLEE in this fast-paced showbiz whodunit."


By R.T. Jordan
, etc.



Good Lord! Not––AGAIN!

The End Times are at hand­­. Yawn. For heaven’s sake bud, just rip the bandage off and get on with the Apocalypse now!

"Saigon... shit; I'm still only in Saigon..."

We at BRUISES THE GIN are endlessly amused by all of the shock and awe predictions of the earth cracking open like a small skull on a vast playground.

Finally giving in to the seeming inevitability of what the “truth-loving” so-called “Christian” groopies have been foreshadowing for a couple thousand years (based, of course, on astute statistical, meteorological, divine and scriptural research), we’ve generously packed a reusable Whole Foods grocery shopping bag with essential survival items (mainly gay porn) for Michele Bachmann and her chubby hubby, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, to take with them on their Ignorance Tour of the Cosmos with Rick Santorum, Pat Buchanan and Donald Wildmon (c’mon Don, you KNOW you want it!). And away they go. PLEASE!

Champagne's on me!


Harold Camping, or Shari Draper

This year, we’re expecting Harold Camping to disappoint us again—twice. Way back in 1994, he promised a September wedding between the Almighty and His faithful. But just in case that didn’t occur, peebrain [sic] Camping made a contingency play-date with Jesus for May 21, 2011 (perhaps expecting to be enjoying his other world reward by now.). Our staff must have all been in post-orgasmic bliss because we totally missed whatever didn’t happen on that day. We now have to hold our collective breaths until October 21. Or not.

We suspect that the December 21, 2012, end of the Mayan calendar/earth spins into oblivion prediction is more inspired for the cancellation of humankind.

Religious zealots have been nattering on about the end of the world for so long it gives us a migraine. Someone at the informative website: http://www.bible.ca/pre-date-setters, has taken the time to list ALL the end-of-time dates that have been promised since that most famous of crucifixion/resurrections. Alas, the expected golden chariot ride to the Pearly Gates has never once made a pit stop to whisk away the good (e.g., the sanctimonious). Nor, after any of the prognostications, did the earth open up to suck sinners down to our eternal holiday in the molten lake of fire.


The Decider. So when's the big day, Georgie boy?

Check out the Bible.ca website for their complete list of dates from the year 44 to September 14, 2047, for the Second Coming, Armageddon, and Rapture news. Here are a few of the more curious predictions they’ve listed:

  • August, 989: Halley’s Comet appeared and was taken as a sign by the great unwashed that the Earth was about to be destroyed. (It happens every time.)
  • 1000: Worldwide hysteria ensues with the prediction of Jesus’ return after a thousand years.
  •  1033: Slight change in computations. This year was sighted as the real beginning of the millennium because it marked 1000 years since Christ’s crucifixion.
  • 1186: The Toledo Letter warned everyone in Europe to cower in caves and mountains. The world would be destroyed and only a few spared. Hide and seek was invented.
  • 1666: This was the year that indeed things came to a rather inconvenient end for 100,000 Londoners who caught bubonic plague. To add insult to the rats, the Great Fire of London pretty damn near destroyed the city. It didn’t help the collective consciousness that the year had the Beast’s number 666.
  • 1910: Haley’s comet returned (again). Another indication of the coming of the Lord.

    Don't make Jesus, or John Boehner, angry!

  • 1914, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, 1994: These are ALL the years that the Watchtower Society of the Jehovah’s Witnesses predicted Armageddon would occur. We can sort of understand getting the end times dates wrong once or twice or even three times. Who hasn’t’? But SEVEN? To that we can only say, Jesus Henry Christ!
  • 1977: The killer bees scare was supposed to be linked to an end of world prophesy in the Book of Revelations. The bees are still swarming around Texas. Sticking close to Crawford.
  • 1982: A number of planets were in direct alignment with each other and were thus expected to create magnetic forces that would bring on Armageddon or rip Earth apart.
  • 1987: The Harmonic Convergence planned for August 16-17 was supposed to usher in the return of Christ. We got stoned that weekend.
  • 1994: That non compos mentis Harold Camping wrote a book titled “Are You Ready?” and predicted the end of time for September of that year. But, just in case, he offered 2011 as a backup date.
  •  2000: Divide 2000 by 3 and you get the devil’s private text messaging number: 666.6666666666666.7.
  •  2011: May 21 … Most of us are still breathing
  • Mr. Camping. If you’re reading this, WE’RE STILL FUCKING WAIT-ING!!!!


In the spirit of “God’s will be done …” and the earth going to hell in handbasket, we’ve asked a few celebs and/or pop culture know-it-all’s to tell us what material things they wouldn’t want to be without if Jesus or Muhammad or Voldemort overlooked their names on the End Times Rapture Roster, and they were accidentally left behind with the ubiquitous cockroaches.

The very cool Jackie Joseph

JACKIE JOSEPH is more than a film, television and B’way star, she is a humanitarian, writer, activist, and champion for animals. Especially doggies. Among her most notable feature film credits is the original The Little Shop of Horrors in which she stared for Roger Corman as Audrey. She appeared with James Stewart in The Cheyenne Social Club, and played Sheila Futterman in both Gremlins films. On television, Joseph was a series regular on The Doris Day Show and provided the voice of Melody in the classic animated television series Josie and the Pussycats and Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space. She has a ton o’ other creds, so Google Jackie Joseph to learn more.

Jackie says, “Ten things I cannot live without? I’m so adaptable. But in no particular order”:

1. I must say my husband David, if I don’t mention him he might kill me.
2. My dog Skye. A forgiving machine is invaluable.
3. My computer, it’s hard to admit, but the tech age has been such a pleasure for me and life is easier. Contact!
4. OK, the iPhone. So handy for whiling away the time and also finding lost husband.
5. Car, my nine-year-old Prius, I still feel as proud to have it as I was when there were few on the road.
6. Of course, my friends. Being of an age, they are scattered all over the place and it’s very dear to find them.
7. My garden. Very blessed with tomatoes this season. The garden calms me and is a gift to the neighborhood.
8. Memorabilia. I’m spending the rest of my life filing myself. And it’s so good for boosting the memory!
9. A quiet place. Peace and calm … to get my thoughts in focus and order.
10. My kids. They were assigned to me by the powers that be. Although they are adults, I still have that mommy feeling.

✜ Ξ Φ

*Receive an AUTOGRAPHED copy. See details below for this MUST READ!

Bestselling mystery writer LAURA LEVINE says she “Grew up in Brooklyn, New York, back when mastodons (and Edsels) still roamed the earth.” (Ed. note: Great example of her laugh-out-loud humor!) Her critically acclaimed Jaine Austen mysteries includes this month’s publication of PAMPERED TO DEATH*, as well the favorites: Death of a Trophy Wife, Killer Cruise, Killing Bridezilla, Death by Pantyhose, The PMS Murder, Shoes to Die For, Killer Blonde, Last Writes, and This Pen For HirePublishers Weekly raved, “Levine’s slick wit and sure pacing makes another hit in this entertaining series.” (Ed. note: Side effects of reading Levine’s hilarious books include shortness of breath and lack of bladder control.) When Levine worked in television she wrote for The Bob Newhart Show, Three’s Company, Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, The Jeffersons and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

Levine would  miss a world without …

1. My Kindle. (Loaded with books by Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse, Joe Keenan. And Richard Tyler Jordan, of course.)
2. My glasses. (See My Kindle above.)
3. My Malibu beach house. (Okay, so I don’t really have a Malibu beach house, but there’ll be plenty available if I’m the only one left on the planet, right?)
4. The New York Times crossword puzzle.
5. My dictionary. (So I can cheat on the New York Times crossword puzzle.)
6. The UCLA swimming pool. (For the first time in thirty-five years, I’ll have a lane to myself!)
7. DVDs of Sunset Boulevard, Rosemary’s Baby, Rear Window, Roman Holiday, and The Bachelor & the Bobbysoxer.
8. Reruns of I Love Lucy, Colombo, and Project Runway.
9. My car. (So I can get from the UCLA pool to my Malibu beach house. For the first time in thirty-five years, I’ll have the 405 freeway all to myself!)
10. My husband. (I couldn’t face life on the planet without him. And besides, I need him to help me find my glasses.)

   ➽ ➢ ↕

KEVIN HOWELL is the marketing manager at Tarcher-Penguin—and since he’s been working in book retail and book publishing since he was 16, he’s now buying lottery tickets in the hope of getting through the second half of his life. He’ll never admit it (he’s way too modest), but he’s also (at least partially) responsible for the commercial success of many fine novels. (Ed. note: The Polly Pepper Mysteries and all of author Ben Tyler’s titles).

The stuff that Kevin wouldn’t want to be on this planet without:

1. My DVR. The best invention ever created and one that brings us one step closer to short-term memory loss. Before cell phones stored our phone numbers, we used to have to remember them. Now, we don’t even have to remember when our favorite TV shows are on, because the DVR remembers for us! With the added bonus of being able to speed through all commercials.

2. Internet porn. Actually, I should amend that to “FREE internet porn” because as soon as a site wants payment, it’s dead to me. There’s too much out there to actually have to pay for it! (Which reminds me, I need to clear my computer’s history…too bad my DVR can’t do that for me!)
3. Facebook. I’ve totally drunk the Kool Aid on this social network that’s as addictive as crack. It’s not only the source for 90% of news for me (although I’m more prone to passing along “Guess who died?” reports more than breaking political news) but it has completely swallowed up all other forms of communication I use to connect with friends and family. (“What do you mean you didn’t know? I posted it on Facebook!”)
4. Ice. Everything I drink has to be ice-cold. I got that Diet Coke monkey off my back more than a year ago and have moved to drinking green tea and water at work and home, but if my ice melts, I stop drinking.
5. Ebay. A glorious site filled with irresistible things that just minutes before you didn’t know you couldn’t live without! Cheaply acquired treasures include a stuffed ALF doll, a signed copy of Jacqueline Susann’s The Love Machine and a movie poster of Thelma Ritter’s The Mating Season.
6. Netflix Streaming. Did you know you can now watch all seven seasons of Cagney & Lacey through Netflix’s Instant View (even though only one season was ever released on DVD) or 160 episodes of Dark Shadows? Heaven!
7. My iPod. Now you can walk around with your own theme song, just like a character in a movie! (Mine is “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” from the Kill Bill soundtrack.) I have 3,395 essential songs on mine (355 are Dusty Springfield).
8. A book in my backpack. I don’t plan vacations, I plan what books I’m going to read when on vacation. (And if I’m ever between books, it’s an excuse to re-read one of my two favorite comic novels–both written in diary form: Fannie Flagg’s Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man or Al Franken’s I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough and Doggone It, People Like Me: Daily Affirmations by Stuart Smalley.)
9. Pizza. Nature’s most perfect food
10. Fran Drescher’s TV series The Nanny. How did I completely miss this hilarious series during its six season run from 1993 to 1999? Now I can’t get enough of it. Sony’s DVD release schedule stalled several years ago after season three, so I’ve been FORCED to buy inexpensive bootlegged DVDs from an addictive web site that would have been #11 on my list.

∑ √ ±


From Publishers Weekly: "Beierle weaves a fascinating story ..."

is the Lambda Literary Award-winning author of The Winter of Our Discothèque (which was a September 2007 Main Selection of the Insight Out Book Club), and the Lambda Award short-listed masterpiece First Person Plural. Beierle is a graduate of the School of Communications at Pennsylvania State University. He was an editor at Brown and Emory universities and has studied at the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Napa Valley, Kenyon Review and Tinker Mountain writers’ workshops.  As if all that were not enough, he’s also an amazing photographer, has a big green thumb for gardening and designs amazing web sites.

We think that the Rapture would suit Andrew, however he does have a last man standing list:

  1. My sister, Maggie. We have stuck together through thick and thin all our lives. Why let the Rapture change that?
  2. My dog, Bandit. Just don’t let him know he was second on the list.
  3. My house in the San Bernardino National Forest. No, make that my home in the San Bernardino National Forest. That includes my panoramic view of the mountains and the valley a mile below (and that’s about as close as I want to get to the flatlanders). And my gardens.
  4. My landlord. He’s more than that—much, much more. My dearest friend. My hero. Suffice it to say that my life changed the day we met, although I couldn’t know it at the time. (Ed. note: Landlord feels the same way about tenant.)
  5. My solitude. Presumably the most annoying people on earth will be swept up in the Rapture. That notwithstanding, I probably won’t want to have anything to do with those who are left behind, since they largely will be of questionable character.
  6. My sense of humor. Obviously the Rapture is going to cause some inconveniences that will be better borne with a laugh.
  7. My books—and enough advance warning that I can download oodles and oodles more to my Kindle before the Rapture takes place, just in case everyone who works at Amazon ascends into heaven. But no more than 28 days advance warning. That’s one billing cycle.
  8. Electricity. (See #7.)
  9. A lifetime supply of Oil of Olay Regenerist products. Moisturizing will be as important post-Rapture as ante-Rapture, perhaps even more so.
  10. Daniel Radcliffe. Not the Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe, the Equus Daniel Radcliffe. (See #9.)

† # §

Ed. Comment: Karen Carpenter may be swilling syrup of ipecac in a celestial recording studio, and playing a harp instead of a drum kit, but she’s on my list of the voices I wouldn’t want to be on this planet without. At least for a few days following the ever after. “Rainy Days and Mondays,” indeed!

Here at BRUISES THE GIN, it appears that we think about death and dying a lot: murder, suicide, uric poisoning. It’s mother’s milk to a mystery writer. The truth is, we have just as much fun with politics, psychosexual fixations, religion (see above), and trashing a Kardashian. That’s how we get our jollies.

*Tell us how you get your giggles. What, save for John Boehner’s sissy tears, gets your blood pumped? We’ll post the more lascivious and/or hillarious and select a WINNER to receive an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Laura Levine’s PAMPERED TO DEATH. Don’t be shy. We’re not! Spill it, baby!

Now, Breathe deeply and slowly. Have that third martini. And watch The Middle on Wednesday nights at 8:00 on ABC. When Armageddon finally occurs, let’s all sing along with Peggy Lee:
“Is that all there is … to a fire?”

"Jordan's zany, name-dropping tale is laugh-out-loud funny" --Library Journal


Give us a shout at Rtylerjordan@aol.com OR


"I told you I was sick!"

By R.T. Jordan

“I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather… Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”

—Will Shriner

Heh, heh. You’ll need a sense of humor when you find the lovely parting gift your loved one has left when said loved one’s earthly remains need to be ditched. What could be so difficult about getting rid of Grandma Sally’s body after she leaves to meet up with Grandpa Larry at the Decay Buffet? It’s not that hard, but it sure can be expensive-o! Don’t be surprised by surprises.

E.T. BONE HOME (Some Stuff About “Cremains”)

C'mon baby, light my fire.

This edition of BRUISES THE GIN is a bit o’ macabre fun that’s mostly about “mortal remains,” or more accurately, “cremains.” There’s a lot to be said for the cost effectiveness of lighting a flame under the dearly departed’s rigor mortised butt, rather than spending $10,000 on a full-on funeral home burial that includes a casket, vault, flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment cards, perhaps a celebratory party if the goner was Shari Draper (read Ben Tyler’s too-hot-to-handle novel TRICKS OF THE TRADE to understand this Hollywood insider’s joke).

Cremains—or ashes to you and me­­—but not really.

When Grandma Sally comes out of the oven and is swept into a plastic bag and delivered to you in a cardboard box roughly the dimensions of a “Harry Potter” novel, what you’re actually receiving is her pulverized skeleton. Shocked? Dear Grandma Sally’s body and organs vaporized while she was busy baking her buns for an hour and a half—at 1400o–2100o F. If you’ve been paying attention to “NCIS” you know that bones don’t burn. So it’s off to the cremulator, which is a fancy name for a big ol’ pulverizer­—think stone grinder that mills wheat or corn into meal. Twenty minutes later, voila! The process is complete and the powder is ready to be scooped up, poured into a Ziploc bag, then transferred to an urn or buried in the ground, or scattered hither and thither. Or not.

But are you getting your elegant Aunt Cora’s cremains or those of Agatha Dee, some anonymous ne’er-do-well whom Auntie would never have invited to her famous candlelight suppers (tip o’ the chapeau to Hyacinth Bucket!). Aunt Cora was a bird of a thing compared to fatso Agatha, whose midnight runs from her bed under the freeway overpass to the corner trash can for snacks contributed to her demise. (Homeless but fat. Only in America.) Do the math. Cora’s cremains should weigh a lot less than Agatha’s. Check the weight. It’s been said that loved ones have a sixth sense about the right/wrong cremains they’re given by funeral homes or crematoriums. Could be a mix up or …

According to an article published in USA Today (April 28, 2006), there’s a huge demand for body parts on the black market. Things such as bones and tendons as well as organs are prized by tissue banks. According to the article the price of a brain is $600.00 (with or without a Ph.D), and $850 for a hand.  An analysis of market prices for fresh or Green Giant frozen body parts used for research and education was compiled by Annie Cheney, author of Body Brokers: Inside America’s Underground Trade in Human Remains. Buy this fascinating book, which every mystery writer in America should own, and every one who knows a dead person will find fascinating.

The same article explains, “[Some] Funeral home employees, crematorium operators and others with access to the recently deceased have secretly dismembered corpses, taking non-organ body parts such as knees, spines, bone and skin without the knowledge or consent of family members.”

Alistair Cooke, the famed British/American journalist and renowned host of Masterpiece Theater for 22 years, was a victim of body snatching. For the grisly stuff click here.

Neat and complete. Well maybe not so much. Here are a few anecdotes from people who thought, as many of us do, that arguing over the division of the estate is the biggest problem when mums or da-da or your SO’s passport to planet Earth expires.

Jorge worked in the “death care” biz, in a retail casket store. He says that funeral homes are a money-grubbing, hit-you-up-for-all-you’re-worth racket. “Funeral homes don’t like to have bereaved families buying caskets and urns from retailers [see the below referenced list for a few special places to buy cheaper burial/cremation stuff] because they make so much money selling coffins at insanely marked up prices.”

While strong-arming emotionally numb survivors interested in buying less expensive caskets from retailers (or even the funeral home: “Tsk tsk. You want the welfare casket?”), many funeral homes will go out of their way to make the burial or cremation process as difficult as possible.

Recalling one particular incident, Jorge says, “You’ve heard of ‘dead weight’. This one funeral home I dealt with intentionally damaged a casket from our store out of spite, so we had to personally take the body from the ruined casket and place it in a new one. The funeral home people just stood back and wouldn’t lift a finger to help. So my boss picked up the dead man’s feet, and I took the upper body and together we desperately struggled to get this dead weight over to the next casket. All I could think of is that I hoped it wouldn’t rip.”

Was he wearing clean socks?


Exactly what you’re picturing. Yeah, it happens.  “There are two occasions where this could easily occur,” Jorge continues. “In drowning, the body is bloated and limbs start to disjoint from the muscles because they’re all fluid. The same sort of thing happens with embalming fluid. They take out all the blood and replace it with formaldehyde and methanol and stuff to preserve the body. That means there are a lot of hollow spaces filled with these fluids. So we’re lifting the body, but there wasn’t any support in the middle and I thought it was going to literally rip apart. There was some fluid leakage coming out through the ears and nose, but the guy remained intact.”

[Ed note: A dressed corpse in a casket could be hiding all sorts of stuff the family wouldn’t want to know about. But you’re probably better off not thinking about this, or checking. Sorry I brought it up.]

Camille wanted to have her pet cremated. Yeah, pet cremation is big business. She had a frog. Seriously. But it was a special prince of an exotic frog so we’ll give her the benefit of the sanity doubt.

“It was the size of a dime,” she says of the frog.  “After a year and a half he suddenly passed away. I had him picked up to be cremated and his remains were to be delivered back to me in a few days. Instead, I got a phone call saying that there was nothing to deliver because he just went up in a puff of smoke and disappeared into thin air­­—just like the $75.00 I paid for this ‘service.’”

This is where a toilet would have been as good as any other means of disposal. Camille was naturally disappointed but agrees that they could have brought her cigarette ashes as a ruse. Instead, they chose to be honest. However, she also agrees that they should have known in advance that it was possible there would be no remains due to the small size, which would have allowed her to make other arrangements. (I’m seeing that toilet again!)

Jim’s story gives new meaning to the phrase, “From ashes to ashes …” When his dad died, Jim agreed to take the cremains to his home in Alaska, where dear ol’  wanted to be scattered. Procrastinator that he is, Jim stashed the box under his bed—where it stayed until the house burned down.

Tim (a real dufus) was selected to spread the ashes of his friend and neighbor Don from the balcony of the deceased’s home in the Hollywood Hills.  It was a lovely spring evening.  The invited guests were sufficiently inebriated. Timmy indicated that it was time to do the deed. Gathering on the deck, Sunset Boulevard in the distance below, Tim said a few words in praise of Don’s long life and accomplishments, then opened the cardboard box, and … instead of the powder wafting away like the Old South in Gone With the Wind, the Ziploc bag fell out of the box and into the impossible-to-reach canyon 100 feet below. Tim has a history of grotesque failures. He once caught his own manhood in the zipper of his jeans. [Ed. note: Always wear your BVDs!)

Suggestions from a “USA Today” Article that appeared on April 28, 2006

  • Home
The chance is slim (but this tragedy actually happened to a friend of this writer)
that a loved one’s body or body parts will be stolen for personal profit after
he or she dies, but the following are some suggested tips to help prevent theft:

• Witness the cremation. If the loved one is to be cremated, more crematoriums today have set up viewing rooms where family members can watch the body be put into the cremation furnace.
• When a loved one dies, family members may agree to donate some or all of the body for research or transplant. The family should ask for and keep a copy of the consent form that was signed. It should include information on what the family agreed to donate.
• Research the funeral home that is chosen, who the owner may be, what his or her affiliations are. While the request may be legitimate, family members should be cautious if a funeral operator also approaches to ask about donating the body. (Source: Annie Cheney, Body Brokers: Inside America’s Underground Trade in Human Remains.)

TRIVIA (Or, stuff I didn’t know)

“I’d love to slit my mother-in-law’s corsets and watch her spread to death.” Phyllis Diller

• The so-called “Death Care” industry rakes in $11 billion a year.
• There are 22,000 funeral homes in America.
• Cemeteries number approximately 115,000
• Over eleven hundred crematories are “scattered” about the country.
• Enough embalming fluid is used each year to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools.

* * *

Here at BRUSES THE GIN we’re not short on offering seemingly screwy info that also enlightens our readers. Hence we provide the ammo to help you make up your inquiring minds about all sorts of alternatives to exploring aspects of life–and death. E.g.:

Wine in a bottle vs. vino in a box?
Squeeze the Charmin or the dingle berries brand of paper that those animated bears in the television commercials use?
Praise Allah, or Oprah?

‘Sup to you, dear readers.

So, here’s the promised list of some cool places where you can save a bundle as you prep to send your stiff off to the Bone Zone.

“It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Woody Allen.


Simple instructions for the do-it-yourself types.


Kent Casket Industries

Assembly kits! Fun for the whole family. These folks provide low cost biodegradable caskets for natural “green” burials and cremations and are perfect for orthodox Jewish burials.  Easy assembly, too!


A simple cardboard casket offers the opportunity for personalization since you can draw or paint on them. Kid’s (ages 10 and under) love this!

Cremation Products Inc.
Gilroy, CA 95020

Says it all!

10 Indiana Ave.
Asheville, NC 28806

Cremation Urns by Legacy Inc.
Fido and Frisky will love these!
4285 Express Lane, #H7978
Sarasota, FL 34238

Eternity International Inc.
210 San Antonio Circle, Suite 141
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 559-7755

If you’re repulsed by the above, you’ll love R.T. Jordan’s series of Polly Pepper murder mysteries. However, R.T. tends to pulverize celebrities, rather than every day folk.  Charlie Sheen is ready for his close-up!

"Jordan's zany, name-dropping tale is laugh-out-loud funny." --LIBRARY JOURNAL



The arts and entertainment page of http://www.rtjordan.com

Holy, Moly! We’re almost live (on July 15, 2011)!

Welcome to the pre-launch of BRUISES THE GIN, the bi-weekly arts and entertainment section of Rtjordan.com.

What can you worry about finding at BRUISES  THE GIN? Oh, how about enlightening interviews with celebrities, writers, artists and anyone with an interesting take on moving through this shared condition we call being human. Compelling, quirky, hopefully a little perverted and always thought-provoking, BRUISES THE GIN is like the old “Merv Griffin Show,” but without the band––and the dead host.

Whether it’s a question and answer chat with a fave author of mine, or a conversation with an old movie star you thought was long dead (Jane Russell just missed that boat), or a serious essay about how to cope with bi-polar bosses (haven’t we all had our fair share?), or gossip heard ‘round the studio commissaries in H’wood, BRUISES THE GIN is determined to tell you something that you didn’t know you wanted to know, or in some cases, wish you hadn’t been told (yes, that is a full hair piece that William Shatner wears. Yawn.)!

Oh, and just for fun, my almost anonymous stalker will contribute a column (when he’s not under house arrest with Lindsay) appropriately titled PROWLER. He’s apparently a showbiz freak and insider (must be a record industry guy). He’ll answer readers’ queries about “whatever happened to …” and sling a bit o’ mud at (you can fill in the blind item name here). He promises dish!

From time to time, readers of BRUISES THE GIN will also have opportunities to win fab (sur)prizes. We’re not promising first class accommodations at the Dubai Hilton, but how ‘bout a galley of a soon-to-be published book or a movie poster or a sample of some cool product that doesn’t come with warnings about erections lasting more than four hours. Fun stuff that you may not even know exists.

Of course when I discover an amazing new artist, author, movie, play, cast album, restaurant, etc. you’ll be the first to know. I tend to shove fabu down the throats of those who don’t pay attention!

Here’s a preview of some of the stories we’re working on for you.

ALONE AT LAST: POST RAPTURE SURVIVAL: If Jesus (or Harold Camping) didn’t notice you missing from the End Times Roster and you were left behind on Spaceship Earth, which books, CDs, paintings or psychotropic meds would you need to keep you and the roaches from freakin’ out for a week or two?  Read what some celebs and/or pop culture know-it-all’s tell us they couldn’t make it without. (Karen Carpenter may be OD-ing on Ex-Lax and playing a harp instead of a drum kit, but she’d be my security blanket in the days following “ever after.”).

CONFESSIONS OF A DENTAL HYGIENIST: Admit it. A pretty woman scraping your gums or picking a grilled cheese sandwich from between your lateral incisor and canine cusped isn’t a lot of laughs.  Or is it? This story promises to be a hoot. Find out what the heck your hygienist thinks of your coated tongue and herpes chancre.  By the way, she knows you’re lying when you say you floss twice a day!

BITE ME!: Pop culture has taken all the savage blood lust out of the vampires we used to love to have scare the bejesus out of us. We’re tired of lovelorn twinks who glitter in the sunlight instead of bursting into flames the way Gothic lore says they’re supposed to. Hear from a Hollywood writer who promises to give us back our macho monsters. For sure we can start with the new “Fright Night.” I’ve seen the flick (at Spielberg’s bungalow on the Universal lot, no less)! I assure you, sexy Colin Farrell as a damn big …  fang!

A PRAYER FOR PALIN.  We at BRUISES THE GIN won’t back away from stupidity.  As writer Ben Tyler pleads in his essay: “Please dear God, make Sarah Palin run for president!”

“Of course, she can [win],” Senator John McCain said on “Fox News Sunday” this morning [well, recently]. “She can. Now, whether she will or not, whether she’ll even run or not, I don’t know.”

Tyler continues, “I beg you, dear (fill in the deity name), we need Sarah Palin if only because America is tired of feeling dumber than bread. Our leader is too smart, speaks with an elevated vocabulary and happens to be married to another brainiac. Both are sexy as hell, too. America doesn’t feel worthy of having a leader with intellect and integrity.  We need someone with a trade, one who knows how to filet a salmon! And put lipstick on a moose!”

At BRUISES THE GIN, we strive for fun, but we love controversy, if not down right anarchy! Meet us back here on July 15th for the debut edition. Oh, and the horoscope section will let you know if it’s safer to reach into a drain pipe teeming with black widow spiders, or accept that Match.com date! (They’re both about the same.)

To get this kick-ass party off to a groovy start, to everyone who sends an e-mail comment before the official launch date of BRUISES THE GIN,  we’ll send you … well, something special. It’s a surprise. (Don’t forget to include your mailing address!)

More soon!

R.T. Jordan