For some reason, I keep doing it to myself. I keep reading TheRinger. Maybe they have good art, or alluring titles (in fact, they do). But time and again, their content is a let down.

Case in point: the recent “Weezer Must Be Stopped” article. I considered doing a point-by-point take down of this thing, but then that would mean the article had points at all. Like most of TheRinger’s content, there is no clear argument being made in any way beyond its own hive-mind assumptions. For this one, you have to assume that Weezer’s later period is bad, that their cover of “Africa” is not fun, and that simple lyrics equate to bad songs. None of these things are 100% guaranteed, unless you want fall in line with these writers, which, in a way, is to fall in line with a widely-spread belief that Weezer fell apart after “Pinkerton,” which is a point SO OLD that it has been made for 20+ years, in much the same way (their songs are more pop than “honest and dark,” they come off as calculating, their lyrics have suffered). On and on and on. Continue reading ‘Why Do I Read’


I finished writing a novel. Now it’s in the early stages of deciding a lasting title, and even the genre.

That’s not saying that I don’t have genre in mind. It is definitely a mystery novel, but certain aspects of the story push the classification more toward the Cozy Mystery category. Wanna know what that is OK great:

A “cozy mystery” is a sub-genre of the mystery novel. While it still involves crime and murder, the violence and sex components are downplayed. Cozy Mysteries usually have punny titles based on the theme or characters or small town setting. A mystery set in a coffee house will have titles like “ON WHAT GROUNDS” (a real book) while others set around a crochet club have titles like “KNOT GUILTY” (also a real book). Continue reading ‘Working on the Not-So-Cozy Mystery’

I HAVE BEEN INSPIRED BY THE HIVES at least three times in my life. That’s three separate creative endeavors where I drew direct inspiration from this band. “Three times” may not sound like a lot, but compare it to the number of times you have been inspired by a band, movie or artist. I think I’ve heard most people mention an artist once at the beginning of their careers (“We heard the Beatles and said let’s start a band”) and then they move on. And even then, it’s not like those people were inspired by the Beatles to make movies, too. And write books.

My three projects were a sketch comedy show, a weekly music article for called “The Greatest Song At This Moment” and a film script. That’s three projects in three different genres, and as I realize this is starting to say more about me than about the power of the band itself, I will protect myself by twisting around to simply say that the Hives are awesome. I’ve seen them live, I own all their albums, I’ve preached the word and tried to convert others. I’ve written reviews and shared other reviews about them. They inspire fun and I feel they deserve respect.

For all this awesomeness, they have never achieved some lofty title of Greatest Band In the World, never really broke out of that early-2000’s garage-band-upswing pseudo-genre. The best this gets them is that when the movie “Boyhood” wanted to show just how early 2000’s a scene was, it played “Hate to Say I Told You So.” Since the Hives have not (yet) reached that upper echelon, they will likely not receive the greatest complement bestowed upon any band: a comprehensive song-by-song ranking by

Fortunately for them and all of us, I’m here to do the work. I tried to follow the rules set forth from previous Vulture ranking articles where I am limited this to official releases and no live stuff. Basically, if you can get it on iTunes or if the band put it out on their official YouTube page, I’m counting it. If not, I’m not (sorry “Sounds Like Sushi” and “Oh, No! When” How?” EP’s). I’m also writing this in September 2018, so if you’re reading this after the Hives release their concept/soundtrack album for a new James Bond movie, I didn’t forget, I just don’t live in the future.

I’m also mimicking Vulture’s style, where I will interrupt the list with editorial asides, history lessons, and general thoughts about the band. However, I am breaking ranks with Vulture by presenting this list in a way that does not cause your phone to crash.
Lastly, these songs have been very scientifically chosen and ranked. These are not subjective decisions. These are stone cold facts where there is no room for debate. You can set your watch by these rankings and be correct at all times. I achieved this brand of hard science by going to Hives Manor, where I studied under Randy Fitzsimmons. Then I listened to all of the Hives major-release catalog. Then went back to Hives Manor, then back home again. I listened to the songs in a variety of ways – as albums, then shuffled, then back again – all the while making notes. Each song got assigned to an initial category: “Love,” “Low Love,” “Strong Like,” “Like,” “Low Like,” and “Leave.” Once I had all the songs in these generally categories, I tried to rank them within each category. This was achieved by making a playlist on my iPhone for each category, giving each list two or three full listens, and then making some picks.

This, unfortunately, is where science fails but my heart prevails. Some of the choices were clear, while others (mostly in the middle) were very muddy. After a while I would just assign a song a rank of, say, 5 for its category because it felt like a 5, and then used that as my North Star for the rest of the surrounding songs. Like a right-wing governor setting the record for executions, I know I am right because I know I’m right.
I’ll publish all my notes in my full report. Which is right here. You’re welcome and yours truly, HPM: Continue reading ‘Ranking All 87 Hives Songs’

I bought into the hype, the news coverage, the coverage of the spoiler in the other coverage and all that stuff. I went to a comic shop and bought the special, first-print, non-alternate cover of “Batman #50,” aka the “Batman and Catwoman’s Wedding Issue.” And I bought the one before it, #49.

So first thing, about buying the one before it, I was foolish. Despite my (I think) higher-than-the-average-person knowledge of Batman things, I am below average compared to active comic book fans. I think. And I’m out of practice, because I somehow, foolishly, stupidly thought that the events of “Batman #49” would immediately line up to the events of “Batman #50.” They don’t. Of course they don’t. This is modern comic book storytelling, where the events of “Batman #49” get followed up by “Catwoman #31,” then “Justice League: Batman’s Cowl #6” and on and on. This will relate in a moment. Continue reading ‘Batman’s Wedding’

Alternative title: People Ranking “Solo” as the Worst Star Wars Movie Are Insane.

The release of “Solo: a Star Wars Story” has been a weird one for “Star Wars” movies. It hasn’t set the world on fire, so many have been quick to blame everything and declare it the worst entry. I’ve heard some actual fan reaction from people directly, but even that has been hampered with statistics and box office returns. It should be noted that none of these people I’ve spoken to have any vested interest in those box office returns. It’s more just the way our world works now. Everything is seen in terms of how money justifies existence.

That almost makes sense in terms of “Star Wars,” as they have been so synonymous with box office success that when one doesn’t make a zillion dollars, it does, I suppose, qualify as “news.” The films have also reached a level of their own film genre, as one of my friends has pointed out. Each “Star Wars” movie can only be measured against previous “Star Wars” movies. All other comparisons are irrelevant. Still, I’m going to try. Continue reading ‘Solo: a Star Wars Thoughts’

I was having a very 2018 thought today: I was considering listening to the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s,” and the easiest way would be to download it from Amazon Music (available through with your Prime membership, check Amazon, the company that cares). The problem would be that when you listen to it on Amazon Music, there are half-second breaks between songs. So instead of having the opening song flow smoothly into “With a Little Help From My Friends,” it goes silent for a moment, then resumes.

Not the worst problem, of course, but it stopped me from going on because it was “not how they intended.” And I continued to think about the concept of this album, and how it was supposed to be like a concert, with songs transitioning into each other with barely a break at all.

And then it hit me: that’s not what concerts are like at all. Continue reading ‘Realization: The Beatles Messed Up “Sgt. Pepper’s” Concert Idea’

The world of supervillany was predominantly male. A ratio of twenty-seven male villains for every woman. And most times, the one in twenty seven amounted to less than a costume — a graduated sidekick looking to make a name for herself. They had the desire, but most lacked the ambition.

Valentina Vartan, on the other hand, had ambition. She was one of the most ambitious things on the planet, without qualification of gender, race or species. She had conquered cities, vanquished heroes more powerful than herself, and had come to be known as one of the greatest villains alive.

That qualifier — “one of” — gnawed at Valentina’s ego. Despite her many criminal accomplishments were many, the only way she could ever be known as *the* greatest — singular and alone — was to eliminate any and all competition. Greatness could only be achieved through victory over all. The only other name in the same tier as Valentina’s was Rance Raptor. He was seventy-six, a full three decades Valentina’s senior. In Valentina’s mind, she was obligated to do all that was necessary to give Rance Raptor and the entire patriarchy a permanent rest. Continue reading ‘V I L L A N Y (a short story)’