2/11/20

The Date Valentino


     Valentine’s Day, 1995. The wife and I were dining in an upscale restaurant in downtown Savannah. It was the sort of place that intimidated regular drive-thru consumers like us by presenting a variety of long-stemmed glasses on the table, subliminally suggesting that we purchase wine. We decided on the most expensive bottle so as not to look like the uncultured cretins we were. At this early stage of our lives, we were unaccustomed to food establishments that didn’t serve their poultry in nugget form. We had actually eaten at Wendy’s on our wedding day the previous year. It had been a happily lowbrow romance. But this was Valentine’s Day, after all, so splurging on the finer things was in order. What’s a little more crippling credit card debt when celebrating true love?

2/6/20

My Brother Went to Heaven and All I Got Were These Lousy T-Shirts


     My brother was a man of vision, a man with a plan. Before his untimely demise, David Holt had announced new get-rich-quick schemes on a weekly basis, and almost all of them involved t-shirts. This made sense, seeing as he was a graphics guy. What made even more sense for Dave was to coerce his younger brother into creating the actual t-shirt designs, seeing as I was also a graphics guy and much smaller and weaker than him. In David’s view, the t-shirt was the most dependable bait when looking to lure cash from the general public’s wallets. Sports graphics, Christmas gags, event souvenirs, or just a sly double-entendre in Futura Bold, my brother knew whatever the public found amusing or inspiring, they wanted printed on a t-shirt.  It was difficult to argue with this conclusion, but, tired of being muscled into his shirt-selling schemes, I tried anyway.

1/29/20

Work Geek




     I knew a girl in high school who worked a variety of mall jobs. First she worked in a chain store called The Petite Sophisticate (known in mall-shopper parlance as “The Little Bitch”), then she worked in the Spencer Gifts next door, and finally wound up down the hall at the Peanut Shack. She and I began to refer to this career maneuver as “moving left in the world.”

7/3/19

Old Vice



     As of this writing, I have reached the age of fifty. Old age is rapidly approaching, like the speeding of a comet destined to wipe out the woolly mammoth, which I suppose in this case is a metaphor for bone density or something. I’m too old to care if I’m writing good.

1/29/19

Vest Pocket Holtism

You, the addled, tweet-stuffed denizens of social media, grimace at the conglomerations of excess wordage we once called "books" and proclaim, "TLDR!"

To you I offer this tiny slice of gourmet paragraphy, this smidgen of typeset delight - slightly longer than a drunk-text of angry emojis, but significantly shorter than Cervantes.

And this slender volume, this pocket digest of wit and wisdom, written and somewhat perversely illustrated by my own self, is but a mere $5.

A quick click of the link below, speedy delivery to your door, swift consumption of these memorable essays, and you're right back to flame wars about transgender bathrooms while you binge-watch your Cumberbatch whathaveyou.

"A Blackbelt in Quitting": The book that doesn't waste your time!

Order this vital-yet-semi-disposable book of knowledge here

1/28/19

Will Work for Fools


  

     During high school, in the depths of the 1980’s, my friend Gnat got a job working at the Guitar Exchange. It was a local retail establishment, a music shop about the size of a storage shed, which served as a hangout for teenage stoners with Van Halenian aspirations. Gnat being just such a guitar-shredding, heavy metal acolyte, this seemed the perfect environment for him to pretend to be gainfully employed.

9/18/15

The Accidental Purist

     Gnat showed up in a van he said he’d been driving for two weeks, but it looked like he’d owned it for twenty years. It was covered with dents, dirt and debris on the outside, and the interior contained fossil layers of convenience store and Burger King refuse, covering the once-pristine upholstery. He’d driven this monstrosity to visit me while I was pretending to get a college education in Savannah. In a weak moment of nostalgia for our hobo high school years, I had invited this dumpster diver to spend a few days with me in my new apartment. I was taken aback by his malodorous condition.

6/22/15

The Known Unknown

My math teacher, Mr. Pseudonym, gave us some fatherly advice back in 1984. He accessed the collective intelligence of the assembled hopeless in his classroom and said, “The older you get the more you realize how stupid you are.”

Thinking this might be on the test, I wrote it down next to my ballpoint drawings of exploding robots, in a notebook otherwise devoid of scholarship, and went back to my sketching. I’m sure he felt compelled to give this advice to us because we were in summer school, which, for the uninitiated, was required of students who had flunked a class or three the previous year so they and their lazy, drug-addled brains might advance to the next grade. It wasn’t exactly a think tank.

5/28/15

Invasion of the Body Rockers


     You missed the Eurovision Song Contest. I know you missed it because, if you’re reading this, you’re most likely an American. And last Saturday you were watching reruns of Mama’s Family or barbequing Hot Pockets or shopping for plastic tumblers at Walgreens or some other typical American activity, while all of Europe and affiliated nations were glued to their state-sponsored televisions, watching Eurovision. Shops and offices closed so they could gape at this multi-billion-Euro musical extravaganza, a cornucopia of pop music, with enough sequin-festooned glitz to make Liberace wince, and you weren’t invited.

4/24/15

The Cars That Go Boom

     I’ve seen my share of accidents along this dangerous stretch of I-85 in upstate South Carolina. What I wasn’t fortunate enough to witness myself has been conveniently photographed and printed on the front page of the Gaffney Ledger. I’ve seen tractor-trailers overturned, crushing unsuspecting convertibles and sporty hatchbacks. I’ve seen minivans ripped in half by trains. I’ve seen delivery trucks dislodged of their fruit pie deliveries by the sudden appearance of unlucky white-tailed bucks. But I can honestly say this was the first time I’ve seen a car entirely engulfed in flames.

2/2/15

Irregular Joe

     As should be obvious by my reflective bloggery and general childishness, I am of the Nostalgia Geek Generation, those early Gen Xers whose lives revolve around the pop culture they ingested as kids. I’m not proud of it. I’ve long been critical of those who overindulge in pop culture junk and fall victim to the nostalgia-based marketing of Hollywood, K-Tel, Cartoon Network and Pez. I stick my nose high in the air as they stuff their juvenile craniums with Scrappy Doo and Gilligan reruns, Transformers movies and the oxymoronic Essential Marvel Team-Up reprints. But sometimes I am weak. Sometimes those bastards hit me right where I live and recycle a favorite childhood token that I can’t resist. They did it with the Ultraman ’66 DVD set, they did it with the Captain Atom/Blue Beetle/Question Archives, and now they’ve really done it with Hasbro’s reissue of the 1974 Adventure Team GI Joes in all their kung-fu gripping glory.

12/30/14

A Few Beer’s Resolution


     There seems to be a psychological trifecta in the American holiday season, not unlike the Stages of Grief or the twelves steps of Hollywood networking (aka AA). On Thanksgiving, we show our gratitude for the bounty of hot tubs and elective surgeries we have available to us with a traditional feasting of the gravy-laden. Having properly thanked Papa Jehovah for our gruesome overindulgence, Christmas unleashes a bacchanal of retail consumption for which we may be thankful the following year (especially the eternal blessings of refunds and exchanges). And after all this thankfulness and further greed-a-palooza, we have New Year’s, in which we promise to never, ever do it again. 

11/12/14

The Music is Reversible, But Time is Not



Like so many other podunk dirt farmers of their generation, my newlywed parents were eager to leave behind their rural childhoods of chicken beheadings and outhouse hosings and embrace the dream of 1950’s suburbia. They had visions of two-door Frigidaires, multi-speed cuisinarts and full-color Philcos in a ranch-style Levittown castle. There would be backyard barbecues and baseball practice, birthday piñatas on the patio and late-night cocktail parties with boisterous neighbor couples. This last shindig would require the feature every suburban dweller knew he couldn’t live without: the hi-fi.

10/4/14

Generation Wrecks



     Somewhere in 1987, my friend Chuck and I were hanging out in his unfurnished apartment, waiting for that evening’s episode of Webster to begin, when we saw a TV news broadcast profiling “Generation X.” This was a new media buzzword - a label for the upcoming batch of young adults, who were, as usual, completely different in their values and priorities from their parents. Gen X, it was said, was a disillusioned bunch. They had little or no faith in the future, they had an ironic relationship with our corporate-run culture, and they were emotionally unprepared to cope with the struggles of adulthood. Rather than becoming the next wave of innovators, Generation X, they told us, were far more likely to be found watching the Brady Bunch and thumbing through old comic books. Chuck put down his copy of Richie Rich #118 and looked at me sheepishly.
     “Where did this ‘Generation X’ stuff come from?” he asked.

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.

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.