7/9/14

The Agony of the Cleats

     As of this writing, the United States soccer team has been eliminated from the 2014 World Cup competition. This leaves the usual futbol suspects like Germany and Brazil to stomp each other’s toes in a quest for glory, and it means Americans can officially go back to not caring about soccer. We can feel relieved about this since, as I understand it, the World Cup matches will continue for at least the next eight months (with additional time added, depending on penalties and injuries) – or maybe it just feels that long.

7/10/13

Birdbrain

I’m going to kill that bird.

Granted, there’s more than just one bird out there. At this time of year, the whole backyard looks like a Disney film exploded, with multitudes of squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and wrens, chattering, chirping, and singing about their longing for a handsome prince (one assumes). The wife and I can keep the windows open during the cooler nights and wake to the soothing sounds of nature wafting in on the breeze. This is the primary benefit of living in the country: Enjoying the sound of songbirds outside rather than the parking lot smackdowns and Ghostface Killah CD’s of the concrete jungle.

6/12/13

Pride of the Crankies


Family lore maintains that the ball hit me on the head. And I’ll concede that getting walloped thus by a baseball could cloud one’s memory, but I still insist this is not what happened. The ball bounced off my glove. And this was because at that tender age, catching a speeding baseball with my fragile, preschool hands was somewhat painful. And I had learned to avoid pain.

6/5/13

Captive Audience

  As someone who’s worked with the public for decades, I’ve concluded that being a “people person” is more a matter of solemn duty than actual love of one’s fellow man. I consider the ability to behave respectfully towards talkative patrons rather than killing them a practiced art, like sharpshooting or making pancakes in the shape of ducks. It’s a talent that could be considered a calling. I know that for me there is no burning desire to absorb the time-wasting blather of others. I’d rather be home watching “Pimp My Desperate Housewife” like everyone else.

5/29/13

Kinder Dregs

I’ve finally gotten to the stage of life where people have stopped asking me, “When are you going to have kids?” This is because I’m now old enough that the idea seems unlikely (barring a Chaplinesque desire for younger and younger wives, who can someday change both the children’s diapers and my own). But it’s also because those who know me fairly well are relieved that I have no impressionable young minds under my jurisdiction. My children would undoubtedly be mouthy little schoolyard terrorists, suffering from both delusions of grandeur and crippling neuroses. I would see to it. They would be the first to tell the other kids that Santa Claus isn’t real and the last chosen for team sports or student council. They would make me very proud.

5/18/13

Internal Combustion: The Talkie


I hear what you're saying: "Sure, that Internal Combustion book is a literary masterpiece. But what about the illiterates among my friends and family? How will they enjoy the heartfelt humor and self-righteous wit of this amazing work? Should I just forget about them and let them keep on watching Season One of Mannix?"

Heavens no! Mannix is butt-awful! As always, I'm here to help. Now there's Internal Combustion: the Audiobook! Three compact discs for one low price, featuring impassioned readings from The Book straight from my very own gargling larynx. Not only unabridged, but with additional blather! Plus an attractive booklet containing all the illustrations from the original book!

Is that not enough for you? Well, it wasn't enough for me, either. That's why, in addition to writing, illustrating, and recording these readings from the book myself, I also created original music for the audiobook production. I'm like Orson Welles and Yanni put together!

Click below for sample snippets of audio. And note just how easy this miracle product is to order! Want to forego that pesky, 20th Century plastic artifact? Then choose the digital download option for half the price!

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ashleyholt4


2/13/13

Too Cool for Drool

I envy you people who say you have no regrets. That is, I would envy you if I thought you were being truthful, and not simply living in denial about all the disgraceful lapses in judgment that blot your permanent record.

Regret could be considered my primary character trait. My life is a rich tapestry of bad jokes at funerals, lampshade-clad party gymnastics, and anger-fueled outbursts of “I don’t need your stinking job!” when clearly I did. My body itself is a testament to regrettable actions. I’m covered in scars received not from acts of orphan-saving valor, but from double-dog dares that I couldn’t catch a Nerf football from the back of a moving moped and similar adventures. If I did it, it’s likely that I regret it.

2/2/13

Prattle of the Network Stars

As much as it will pain me, I may have to defriend Kalamity Kate. I know the accepted term on Facebook is “unfriend,” but seeing as the age of texting has abolished the rules of grammar, I feel I should be able to deinvent the language to my own satisfactioning. I also think wine and tubs should be decorked and declogged respectively, in case you were wondering. But I ungress.

11/14/12

Zen and the Art of Throwing Away Broken Junk: The Movie

Yet another reading from the book "Internal Combustion," written, illustrated, and clumsily read by our own esteemed Ashley Holt. Feel my pain come to life through the magic of 19th Century technology.




11/2/12

Still Only 25 Cents: The Movie

Well, it's technically a video anyway, even though there's only one image. Think of it as a talisman for meditation, this single image. It's a nice break from the usual online blinking and twitching, don't you agree? This sad tale is, of course, from my wildly successful new book, Internal Combustion.







11/1/12

To Cough in the Face of Danger





It should come as no surprise that I’m a bundle of nerves. I was raised by a bundle of nerves. From the time I was born, my father was feverishly intent on imparting to me one, all-encompassing lesson: life is full of danger. Life, according to my father, consisted entirely of electrocution, puncture wounds, rattle snake bites, and vehicular homicide. Being pathologically anxious by nature, he saw his children’s activities as nothing but preludes to hospitalization. He saw the world as a mass of rusty nails and combustible liquids, and his offspring as a gaggle of hyperactive mental defectives, who would swallow fishhooks or lock themselves in abandoned refrigerators for fun. He had splints and peroxide ready at all times.

10/26/12

Halloweak: The Movie


An oral presentation of "Halloweak" from my new book, "Internal Combustion." Read about the book here: http://thrdgll.tripod.com/internalcombustion.htm

10/19/12

Like Reading a Blog, Only with Paper Cuts


Delivered from my very own knotted gut, the musings and doodles which chronicle my anxious existence, collected in what scholars of ancient civilizations refer to as a "book." Click hereabouts to find out more:

http://thrdgll.tripod.com/internalcombustion.htm

9/2/12

King of Stain

My dream for the house had always been new wall-to-wall carpet. This seemed luxurious, yet essential to me. I’ve spent a good deal of my life on the floor - writing, drawing, playing guitar, sleeping off a bender –and quality carpeting had padded my cheeks through these low-level adventures in my youth. So I was spoiled. Forget fixing the faulty plumbing, the gas leak, or the refrigerator that sometimes catches fire. I wanted new carpet.

8/24/12

The Litter of Quitters


Every now and then, while picking up trash in the front yard, I find a pack of cigarettes, almost full. I do a quick scan of my limited Biblical knowledge to remember if Revelation mentions anything about a plague of Pall Mall’s, but I know what really happened here. I live on a busy highway, which means my yard is the receptacle for the garbage our mouth-breathing motorists believe simply vanishes from existence when they toss it out of the window. And sometimes, among the Burger King and Trojan brand refuse, there is a fresh pack of smokes. This indicates that someone just “quit smoking.”

6/14/12

A History of Violence

I think it’s clear to anyone who has beaten me senseless with a crowbar without fear of retribution that I am not a violent person. While others were studying the physical arts of ju-jitsu or boxing in their youth, I busied myself perfecting the sort of intellectual wit that encouraged those other little ninjas to demonstrate what they learned in karate class. But I never cared for physical violence. Why bother inflicting fisticuffs, I rationalized, when I could undermine someone’s confidence about their purchase of a Kajagoogoo album? A black eye can heal in a matter of days, but an emotional scar could require decades of therapy. I still think I made the right choice.

4/24/12

The Mouth Shall Rise Again






You might not know it from the top hat and monocle I wear to the opera these days, but I was born a hillbilly. I was a redneck trailer park child, raised amid the pluff mud and pork rinds of the South Carolina Low Country. I ate grits with every meal, fished for tadpoles and fiddler crabs in a nearby creek, and owned no shoes until the age of twelve. And of course, from the moment I first said “mawmuh,” I spoke with a nauseating Southern twang.

4/4/12

Physician, Keel Thyself


There’s something vindicating about outliving your doctor. It gives you pause, certainly, to consider the fragility of life, as someone’s death always does. But in a perverse way, when the person advising you on your health keels over from a big, greasy heart attack, it means you win. All those lectures about diet and exercise are instantly nullified. What the hell does a dead guy know?

3/22/12

The Movie That Everyone Saw


Sometime around 1990, my friends and I were hanging out, doing precisely the nothing with our post-teenage lives that had become standard procedure, when the TV did something strange. Late in the evening, there was a broadcast of something called “Superargo,” a particularly terrible Italian super hero film from the ‘60s. It was still common in those days for local stations to kill time with some wretched old B-movie after midnight or on Saturdays when the ballgame got rained out. And since cable television was something only responsible adults could afford, my loser friends and I caught a lot of these crappy local broadcasts while huddled around crummy little portable sets, sequestered in attic bedrooms where Mom couldn’t smell the smoke. Sometimes we’d catch an unscheduled Three Stooges short or, if we were lucky, something with Harryhausen monsters in it. Most of the time it was “Sorry, Wrong Number” with Barbara Stanwyck. We got to know that one by heart.

3/19/12

Health and Swellness



It’s bad enough the women featured in all those health and fitness magazines are completely devoid of excess fat. Bad enough they insult the average stuffed-crust American with their perfectly shaped buns and abs. And bad enough they seem to have several employment-free hours a day to devote to full-release quad crunches with a half-turn thrust. But do they have to look so damned TOGETHER? The chicks in these magazines all have this sparkle in their eyes, this look of perfect, alert contentment. Their look says, “I have attained optimal health and well-being at a level once exclusive to Buddhist monks and select Osmonds.” There’s an inner fire to these gals – probably applied with a Photoshop filter not available to lesser mortals – that indicates that they’re eating all the right organic foods, bicycling regularly, and focusing healing energies to any potential trouble spots.  It’s a look I vaguely recognize as ... “happy.”