Author: Alex Schumacher

Shit that happened in the Last Few Months

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Welcome to 2017, fellow denizens and reprobates of the internet!

Thanksgiving has come and gone. The holidays have passed along with impressive amounts of flatulence from the gastronomic onslaught of the season. Now as the streets and dumps are littered with the unnecessary carcasses of turkeys and pine trees we here in America brace ourselves for the fascist regime poised to take office in a mere twelve days. In an effort to avoid sending myself or any of you who may have stumbled upon this site into yet another bout of heavy drinking, allow me to focus on some of the creative goings on you may have missed since my last update.

November 2016:

Mr. Butterchips returned to the pages of Drunk Monkeys Magazine on November 11th, 2016 with a commentary on take-home pay. As you may be able to gather from the teaser panel below, our filthy-mouthed friend is none too pleased with the piddly amount earned from his back-breaking days of customer service. The strip can be read in its entirety here.

mr-butterchips-6-teaseDecember 2016:

The “Get In Line” art exhibit ran for the month of December at the 4Word Gallery in Salinas and featured a dizzying array of work from cartoonists including Bridgett Spicer, Betsy Streeter, Ace Continuado, and myself. The opening reception was held on December 3rd, 2016 and after a few glasses of free wine (and shots from the hooch I smuggled in) I grudgingly agreed to pose for some photo ops with my work.

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I was honored to be the featured cartoonist in the December issue of Drunk Monkeys published on 12/1/2016 devoted entirely to first-hand accounts from survivors of sexual abuse, in all its forms. All proceeds from the month, collected through either their Patreon donors or one-time donors, was donated to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. This harrowing and beautiful collection of essays, short stories, poems, and art can be read here.

The Salinas Valley Comic Con converged on the campus of Hartnell college over the weekend of December 16th-18th, boasting 30+ vendors, cosplay, and a variety of panels with guests speakers ranging from Lalo Alcaraz (La Cucaracha), Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum), and yours truly. If you weren’t able to attend the con, yet have a burning desire (or is that the chlamydia acting up?) to experience the Indie Cartoonists panel you can do so here. Video courtesy of Sean F. Roney.

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From left: Bridgett Spicer, some curmudgeon, and Ray Zepeda Jr. during the Indie Cartoonists panel on Sunday 12/18/16

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I ended the year in morbid style with a parable featuring the character Drunk Death conceived as an occasional foil for DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE. If you missed it you can still read the flash fiction piece here.

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January 2017:

DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE returned to Antix Press on Friday January 6th, 2017. The second year year chronicling the weekly shenanigans of real American dirtbag Luke Carlin kicked off with a bang and promises to hold plenty of the wildly irresponsible life choices you’ve come to know and love from the series. Read the inaugural episode here.

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Be sure to catch up on the archives from the first year of DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE as they will be disappearing soon to make way for the new year. A print collection of year one will hopefully be in the works soon and my publisher Antix Press is also in the process of producing some merchandise. Stay tuned for announcements…

My mantra for this year: Bitch less. Rage more. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the states which has legalized its use, a healthy and frequent dose of weed doesn’t hurt either.

Tricks and Treats (but mostly tricks)

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Howdy kids and welcome back to another woefully delayed update on this site’s blog. To be fair I have been fucking crazed these past few weeks wrapping up some projects, beginning others, drinking due to the upcoming horror show of an election, etc. Anyway, before I disappear into veritable artist hibernation to complete the pitch on my new graphic novel for my agent I wanted to update my 3 loyal readers on current goings-on.

October kicked off with a god-damn explosion courtesy of the fantastic folks over at Drunk Monkeys. This month’s issue was dedicated to the current election cycle, spotlighting the absolute absurdity of this nation’s deteriorated political landscape which has allowed a fucking xenophobic, misogynistic buffoon to have a leg in the race. When asked to produce the cover for the collection of essays and poems I scratched out several concepts before settling on an image which I thought summed up the overall lunacy of the campaigns tactical approaches.

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The full version, as well as excerpts from the issue, can be viewed on Amazon where you can also purchase the stellar magazine! Amongst impressive missives by my writing cohorts Kim Bailey Deal, Gabriel Richard, Charles Joseph, and Editor-in-Chief Matthew Guerruckey you will also find the latest misadventure of that sick little monkey MR. BUTTERCHIPS. Check out the preview below and find out how it concludes only at Drunk Monkeys!

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As of Friday October 21st my weekly DECADES OF (in)EXPERIENCE wrapped it’s first year of publication with Antix Press! An entire year of wrong turns and sharp lefts provided by our fallible anti-hero Luke Carlin. Antix Press and I will be taking the remainder of the year off, but plan to return on January 6th 2017 full of piss and vinegar. Read the final episode here and stay tuned for news and possibly a special feature in the next few weeks.

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It was also recently announced that I will be a guest at December’s Salinas Valley Comic Con alongside cartoonists Bridgett Spicer, Betsy Streeter, and the Cartoon Art Museum’s own Andrew Farago. I will be sitting on a panel or two and possibly teaching a workshop on graphic novels… or writing… or how to create whilst drunk. For more details and updates visit the official facebook page here.

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Now my dearest degenerates I will be taking my leave and burying my head in a pile of Word docs and artwork drenched in my own blood and entrails. The coffee is hot, the whiskey is on deck for this evening, and I am off to the races on the graphic novel track. I will make a concerted effort to update again before the holidays send the rest of my year into a 90 degree free-fall, but if I don’t quite accomplish said goal I’ll see you all on the other side of 2016. You’ll recognize me as the belligerent drunk covered in ink.

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Most importantly… Happy Halloween, y’all! Let your fright flag fly.

How was your trip last Fall?

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Holy shit! September is here already, my beautiful degenerates. The tank tops and genital-revealing short shorts will fade as the pumpkin spice lattes and holiday decorations begin to invade store shelves everywhere. 2016 has been a whirlwind to be certain and for the first time in a long time I’m actually (cautiously) optimistic about some future developments. Don’t get me wrong, I still find myself constantly needing to douse the nagging goblins of self-doubt and insecurity with chemically-altering substances. One of the many lessons I have learned whilst travelling the unpaved road of a career in the creative arts is to avoid celebratory reveling until there is actually something to celebrate. While larger successes remain just out of reach for the time being, here are some recent little victories from the insanity of the past month.

August started off with a raw, emotional response to the mass shooting that occurred at the Orlando nightclub Pulse on June 12, 2016 as well as the senseless violence plaguing the world in these uncertain times. Drunk MonkeysAugust issue featured poems, essays, and short stories highlighting the frustration, vexation, confusion, and sorrow which accompany such devastating incidents. My contribution was a one-page graphic narrative entitled Waiting For the Day.

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The month was bookended with a couple other comic entries, the first of which was another installment of The Fucking Funnies for Five 2 One Magazine.  This go-round was a satirical look at the technology my generation found innovative and mind-blowing, though has quickly become obsolete in this perpetually moving digital age of ours. Loosen those damn purse strings and help support an indie rag by purchasing the full issue here.

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To cap off the month, the fantastic Literary Orphans published my short story Extinction on their featured blog Tavern Lantern. Below is the first of a three page story, and you can read the rest by visiting http://literaryorphans.org/ttl/extinction-by-alex-schumacher/.

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Providing the meat for this graphic narrative/literary sandwich were thick slices of my writing column Bread Crumbs from the Void for Five 2 One Magazine and the continued weekly misadventures of Luke Carlin in Decades of (in)Experience published by Antix Press. It’s astounding to realize that next month Decades of (in)Experience will have been running for an entire year! On the one hand the weekly deadline has forced me to park my ass in the chair and be productive,while on the other there are plenty of those weeks I narrowly hit deadline by the skin of my chompers.  There are several exciting prospects for the illustrated feature percolating as I type this and hopefully I will be able to share more of said news in the upcoming months. In the meantime if you need some good reading material to while away your time on the shitter, catch up on all past episodes on the archive of apathy at https://decadesofinexperience.com/.

More announcements to come soon including updates on my new graphic novel. Currently I am in the production stage of putting together a sub package for my agent to hock in an attempt to find the book a suitable home. Until then, let your freak flags fly this Labor Day weekend and as always, thank you for reading. Bottoms up, kiddos!

 

Declaration of (Creative) Independence

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Barbecues, fireworks, parades, picnics, family, and a metric shit ton of food. Yes, friends it’s that time of year again to celebrate the U S of A’s declaration of independence from the tyranny and persecution of an overbearing government. I would say the old adage, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is relevant here, but I digress. It’s the motherfucking fourth of July so let’s uncork a bottle or five, stock up on the chips and dips, grill some flesh, and make with the hooting and hollering. Amidst all of the nationalistic brouhaha I invite you to take a few moments to scour the decrepit and unkempt corners of the internet where my work lay in wait for the daring souls who care to discover its irreverent humor.

My weekly online graphic narrative Decades of (in)Experience continues to progress at break-neck speeds and is now entering its tenth month of publication. While the latest entries can be found on Antix Press’ website, the backlog of misadventures endured by the great American anti-hero Luke Carlin are available for your peepers on the newly revamped archival site: https://decadesofinexperience.com/. Do yourself a favor and whet your whistle for future installments by diving into the thirty-six bite-size morsels today! There may also be some exciting news coming very soon, including the possibility of a print collection, so make sure to stay in the know.

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As staff writer for Five 2 One Magazine I have now delivered fourteen hard-nosed articles for my tough-love advice column Bread Crumbs from the Void. While the writing tips contained therein are geared toward the novice or beginner I hope to appeal to all levels of writer with (what I believe) is a no-nonsense approach. There’s hyperbole and humor galore, but I do my utmost to weave those strands as part of a final product which may actually be of some assistance to those who are just deciding to enter the masochistic fucking world of rejection, er, I mean writing. You can find the archives at http://five2onemagazine.com/category/breadcrumbs-from-the-void/ and please feel free to comment or email me with your questions, complaints, or declarations of lust.

Five 2 One Magazine is also just psychotic enough to appoint me as Art Editor and allow me to cultivate a series of depraved and wonderfully insolent alternative cartoons and comics. I’ve dubbed this assemblage of crude cartoonists The Fucking Funnies and, as a contributor myself, have appeared online alongside the talents of Kelly Campanile and member of the original underground comix scene, David GeiserMy comic “Downtown Weed” following the adventures of a couple of Hipbag Douchsters was also featured in Five 2 One Magazine’s latest issue. Below is a sample from the first page, but you’ll just have to cough up a couple ducets and buy your own copy to read the rest…
Downtown Weed sample

The good folks over at Drunk Monkeys continually allow me to sully the pages of their monthly issues with none other than that delightful degenerate, Mr. Butterchips. With the release of their fourth issue, Drunk Monkeys published the third strip featuring the foul-mouthed, hard-living Capuchin. There are talks of a more frequent (i.e., bi-weekly) update schedule and I will be sure to announce it here if Mr. Butterchips does in fact make the shift. To get your hands on some kick-ass swag spotlighting the lovable little bastard, visit his online store! Comment under the strip on the Drunk Monkeys site if you purchase an item and I’ll send you a free signed sketch. What are you waiting for?

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Paper and Ink Literary ‘zine out of the UK invited me to produce some artwork for the back cover of their latest issue #8 revolving around the theme of “first times”. A big thanks to the editor Martin Appleby for digging my ink stains enough to solicit the illustration! You can snag yourself a copy, and support a killer independent publication, by visiting the Paper and Ink Literary ‘zine shop here. Red Fez has also asked me to design some accompaniment for several humor pieces by underground legend  John Bennett. Editor-in-chief Doc Sigerson knows his shit and has been fantastic to work with so far. We are looking forward to unleashing these pieces and while I won’t divulge any spoilers, there will be more info about publication dates provided shortly. With any luck there will be news forthcoming regarding more short stories, flash fiction, and (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise) my first novel!

Now I believe I will be getting quite twisted in the name of our country. See you on the other side, kids!

Alternative to what?

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I’ve always held some contempt for the moniker “alternative comics”. Mind you, some of the comics which fall under that specific distinction are among my favorites. Titles such as Peepshow, Milk & Cheese, or American Splendor turned me on to an entire new world of comics and introduced me to the sprawling world of the underground from the 60’s and 70’s. I simply detest the idea that these comics, writers, and cartoonists are considered an afterthought to the mainstream which continually perpetuates the bullshit idea that comics are just for kids and only about superheroes. As though showing two people fucking is any worse than the hypersexualization of the majority of female (and sometimes male) characters who adorn the pages of books published by the “big 2”. Some of us are just more honest about that shit.

Alright, end of rant. As I step down from my soapbox, here are some projects of mine which won’t be picked up by Disney (oh, excuse me… Marvel) or Time Warner (sorry again… I mean DC) any time soon.

Debuting Monday from the cool cats over at Drunk Monkeys is my new monthly series Mr. Butterchips.

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Mr. Butterchips colored by the kick-ass Allan Ferguson

The strip will follow the daily exploits of the titular (and cuddly) curmudgeon as he rails against the madness and mundanity of everyday life. He’s a weathered and jaded organ grinder monkey in the pursuit of love and happiness amidst a cultural landscape divided by the disappearing middle class, increasing violence, decreasing education, and the condemnatory pricks who look unfavorably on his love for human women. It sounds heavy, but trust me when I say it will be funny as hell too. You may even be surprised at how much you relate to the little asshole. Drunk Monkeys invites you to get to know this fella starting next week (and possibly drop a few shekels on some killer merchandise to support us in our efforts).

Decades of (in)Experience, published by Antix Press recently passed the six month mark! While I am aware this may sound like a relatively short period of time, when producing a weekly feature in addition to a full-time day job, several other projects, and a propensity for procrastination, this is quite the feat. Luke Carlin has been an interesting, if not cathartic, character to explore and my editor Francis Lombard has been nothing short of a wet dream. From the word “go” he has not only allowed my sordid tales to sully his site, but has been enthusiastic and genuinely excited to assist in spreading Decades of (in)Experience like the dark-humored STD that it is. I have just now begun to dig into the meat of who Luke Carlin is as a person, and there is much more to come including the possibility of a print collection. So be sure to catch new entries in the Decades of (in)Experience series every Friday on the Antix Press website and catch up on everything you’ve missed on the archive site here.

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Last week also saw the commencement of The Fucking Funnies for Five 2 One Magazine, beginning with a satirical ode to the douche-baggery of Donald Trump. With this comic, Donald Drumpf in: The Big D, we have thrown down the gauntlet and hope to enlist many other cartoonists and writers for this new digital underground movement. As the newly appointed Art Director handling the curation of The Fucking Funnies, I am seeking contributions of gag panels, comic strips, one to two page comics, and art which will be included in print editions and online. Specifically we are looking for the odd, the dark, and/or the absurd. Comics and cartoons that have profanity, violence, sexuality, etc. are welcome though we are not interested in shock value just for the sake of being shocking or offensive. That said, bring us your brazen works full of satire, sarcasm, surrealism, and searing commentary. If you think you’ve got what we’re looking for submit here: http://five2onemagazine.com/submission-guideline/.

May 16th will see the publication of another comic of mine in The Fucking Funnies series, Downtown Weed in Five 2 One Magazine’s 12th issue along with another cartoonist or two who has already joined in the uprising. Don’t be shy kids. I’ve shown you mine, now it’s time to show me yours. Be sure to read Donald Drumpf in: The Big D!

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My writing pal, and ballsy author, Craig Hart was also kind enough to recently invite me on his podcast for a whiskey-fueled interview. We talked raw for a good half hour about the writing process, some of my projects, and our collective loathe of the literati. Have a listen by clicking here!

Thanks for hanging in there with me. You can now return to your weekend drinking!

Spring is in the air… Which explains the nosebleeds

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It’s spring again, folks. That time of year which brings new life, gentle rains, and god-damn miserable allergies. My nose has been a geyser of green and yellow, and my melon has been stuffed with cotton. Lord knows I struggle enough with thinking as is so this is just a cruel trick of Mother Nature. What a bitch. Regardless, I have continued to chug along at a steady clip in my writing and cartooning efforts. I refuse to be bested by an unyielding case of the boogers!

My short story Rock the Cash Bar, originally published by Drunk Monkeys on October 5, 2015 has been included in their recently released ‘best of 2015’ anthology. 106 pages of “the best fiction and poetry featured over the past year in the online literary journal Drunk Monkeys. Featuring fiction from Bud Smith and Gessy Alvarez and poetry from Kevin Ridgeway, Frankie Met, William Lessard. Plus essays on Star Wars, illustrations, the Donald Trump campaign speech generator, and much more!”* Grab yourself a copy here.

Speaking of Drunk Monkeys lit mag, I was recently commissioned by their Editor-in-chief (and all around snazzy dude) Matthew Guerruckey to produce some cartoon illustrations for their Star Wars retrospective. To be released in May, the retrospective will include essays, commentary, and poetry relating to that galaxy far, far away we all know and love. My work featuring intoxicated and stoned simians will adorn the cover and serve as dividers to the various sections relating to the original trilogy, prequels, and sequels. Here’s a taste of the cover, colored by Allan Ferguson.

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In graphic novel news, The Guitarist is gearing up for it’s Kickstarter campaign to be launched by our publisher, Under Belly Comics, in late April/early May.  The pages are coming along and I can’t wait to share all of the psychedelic, drug-fueled, bat-shit craziness that this book has in store for all of you! It’s going to be one kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll ride to be sure.

Decades of (in)Experience will be hitting the six month mark in April! Every Friday for the past six months I have somehow managed to find new ways to fuck with our main man Luke Carlin and hopefully provide you with a chuckle or two along the way. Decades’ online champion Antix Press and I have been hard at work to bring you a collected print edition of the comic/illustrated narrative’s run thus far by trying to find a publisher/distributor for the title. We will be braving some upcoming meetings, including the possibility of a safari to the wilds of San Diego Comic Con, putting our lives in peril all in the name of pleasing our audience with dirty entertainment. Look here for future news and updates and a HUGE god-damn thank you to all who have been reading and/or helping to promote Decades of (in)Experience!

My tough love writing column for Five 2 One Magazine, Bread Crumbs form the Void will be releasing it’s eighth column full of hard-nosed advice this Wednesday March 30th. 2016. There is some other cool shit in the works with Five 2 One Magazine, and it may be that the column shifts to a bi-weekly schedule in the near future. I’m not at liberty to divulge too much info at this juncture, but suffice to say if all goes according to plan you will see some cartoon-based content both on their website and in their print issues in the very near future. Keep your fingers, eyes, tits, balls, and whatever crossed. I could use the good vibes…

While we are on the subject of new cartoons published by Five 2 One Magazine, their resident literary outlaw/Editor-in-chief Nathan Schwartz and I felt it fitting to unleash what we are calling an Easter Fucking Funny on the world this Easter day. So, enjoy the doodle and have a merry bunny-who-shits-eggs day!

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This week I am the guest on the killer comics podcast, Comic Exposure! I chat with them all about current and upcoming projects. If you’d like to hear me prattle on about writing and drawing you can find the interview on their website. Adios until next time…

Updates and other nonsense

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The first two months of the year have already flashed by. The battle royal for the presidential nomination continues to be a traveling circus of buffoonery. Another shooting occurred on the East side. My bank account is dwindling and my blood pressure is rising. If I were an optimistic sort I would reckon the year could only vastly improve from here. If I were an optimistic sort I doubt my inconsequential ramblings would be as entertaining for those of you out there taking a break from the free porn or cat videos on Youtube. While I may not occupy the most self-affirming corner of this here internet, I like to believe I offer a little something more than the skewed factoids and memes that go viral. That little something is some god-damn honesty. The world sucks. People suck. You either learn to carve out a meager life worth living or just say fuck it and learn to tie a noose. Hopefully you opt for the meager life. Not because I give a shit, but because I have so few readers as it is and I appreciate you wasting some time on my words.

Speaking of which, a number of new pieces were rescued from the wild recently. Unfortunately they can’t be tamed, but they will sit still long enough for you to feast your eyes upon them.

  • On February 16, Dead Snakes brought two of my poems to the masses. Landmines and A Walk Through Old-Town were chosen to be featured, and I thank this kick ass poetry site for allowing me some shelf space. Both poems touch on the despondency and uncertainty we face as we waltz through this crazy life. Unfortunately there’s no road map to success and some of us find ourselves making wrong turns here and there. These two pieces tell it like it is. Nothing more and nothing less.
  • A short story of mine entitled Steer into the Sunset was published by Cultured Vultures on February 19, bringing a raw piece of my soul and background to those who are interested. Coming from a broken home is never easy. Having an outlet to work through some of the long-term ramifications keeps me from putting my head through the plate glass. I sweat blood for everything that I write, and this short story is no exception.
  • On March 1st The Corvus Review released its Winter issue, and with it my story about trippin’ balls A Response to MushroomsIf there is any advice I can pass on to the younger generation it would be this: hash and acid do NOT mix. Download issue 4W’16 (for free!) and educate yourself on the effects of such a potent combination on page 91. Party on and make sure you ingest one mind-altering chemical at a time. Trust someone who can tell you a thing or two about a bad trip…
  • Bread Crumbs from the Void, my weekly tough love article for Five 2 One Magazine just wrapped up its first month. So far I’ve covered the grueling practice of submitting your work for publication, the reprehensible act of schmoozing and networking, how to survive the wilds of rejection, and evaluating the quality of your own work. To be clear, this is NOT an instructional column. I will never profess the secrets and mysteries of writing can be distilled into a curriculum. You can learn form and function, but I believe the best work throws that shit out the window. There are a ton of topics yet to be covered. See what I’m venting about every Wednesday on the Five 2 One site!

Decades of (in)Experience is already over four months deep! Considering the illustrated serialized flash fiction weekly (for lack of an existing term) began as an experiment with my publisher Antix Press, we could not be more fucking proud of the progress. The feature, as well as its anti-hero Luke, will continually evolve, distort, and defy expectations. There may be some rather exciting things in store for Decades of (in)Experience, including the possibility of a print collection. If I may so humbly request, be sure to tell everyone—scumbag friends, prison pen-pals, grandmother’s depends-changers—about the feature. Without y’all we’re just a couple of curmudgeons telling each other dirty jokes.

Thanks for hanging. Now throw a few back for hump day! I know I’m going to. Later, skaters.