RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Wednesday, July 23

MNZ: Juxtapoz June 2008

Again, I’m behind, and this was last month’s issue, and not that great of one at that. Too much of the stuff is too much like the other stuff in mag’s like this, so usually I only like about one in four of the featured artists’ shit. Then I’ll read those interviews and hate the fucker for being so artsy, even about street-style art, about what they do. There was a chick in this issue, an ink artist named Lucy McLauchlan, whose stuff was pretty cool, so I made sure to not the read the interview to find reasons to hate her. And for some reason Lil Jon was in this issue. I guess he’s got some art connections, which makes sense from his yearbook photo from way back then.

Tuesday, July 22

MNZ: JPG Issue 16

This one was all about HUMAN IMPACT upon the earth. As always, JPG is good eye fodder, but I don’t understand the whole SAVE THE EARTH mentality that seems to be rifling back up since the inconvenient truths Morgan Freeman warned us about in that one movie are coming true. Fuck it man, we couldn’t blow up this hunk of rock if we wanted to; all we can really do is fuck the surface of it up so bad we no longer survive, which honestly, who cares? We could use a lot of thinning of the herd because, as anyone who interacts with more than five people on a daily basis can attest, there’s far too much fat out there. Trim it down to muscle and cunning and let those who can find a new way. I do find it amusing seeing it summertime and everybody riding around in air conditioned creature comfort in their cars to their houses, fighting ever feeling the burning sunball too much at once. That shit’s gonna give at some point to where our electrical grid is finally blacking out, and there’s gonna be some hot motherfuckers who spent all their time stepping out the temperature-controlled environs on mild days to spray herbicide on everything that wasn’t golf course grass or a planned plant wrapped up in wood chips. Y’all motherfuckers should’ve grown a shade tree.

Monday, July 21

MNZ: Architectural Digest May 2008

Another free bin score, and I was interested because I guess this is one of the standard bearers for fancy fuckers to get ideas for their fancy assed shit from. Seemed weird to me to want to just sit around and look at other people’s really nice shit and want to bite their style. There was one cool as fuck looking house, all simplified stucco walls and painted like banana and orange colors, with a pimp ass pool with a secret ninja access path from the master’s bedroom, but fuck man, I have three kids. You can’t have nice shit like that with three kids, unless you’d rather your Liberian house servant raise the kids elsewhere during the days. I just bought my wife a painting for her birthday and it’s really funny to have shitty trailer park wood panel walls in our living room, a ceiling with buckles at parts from the shitty drywall job someone before us did, and then this $1000 painting on the wall. Ideally, it would be interesting if someone did a fucked up 30/20-something type of magazine like this, but I’m also more than sensible enough to realize that would be ironic hipster douchism times two thousand if it was actually done, nothing but gay dudes showing off their rare Motown singles and Indian grad students (“thank you come again” Indian, not “on the rez” Indian) pimping PBR paraphernalia. By the way, I was in a junk store today and there was a plug in light display of a Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull with the words ON TAP. Like it was big, for bars. First off, I feel bad that Red Bull has been completely forgotten in regards to the Schlitz malt liquor bulls, and will probably not be remembered at all since Red Bull is an energy drink now very popular with frat boys and Britney Spears types. But man, what kind of world existed at some point where they had an actual bar with the Schlitz Malt Liquor bull not only tap, but proudly on tap with a big fucking sign to brag upon it? Holy fuck man. I’m a pretty burly and reckless individual, but I’d think I’d be afraid to go in a joint like that. Or I wouldn’t, hard to say. Honestly, I’d probably go in, sit around uncomfortably while drinking two beers, maybe talk to one dude closest to me at the bar, soak it all in, then leave. None of my pussy friends would ever do that much, so then I’d make up some bullshit bedazzling garnish to it all and let it be part of my steady rotation of stories I tell to show people who I’ve done so much more wackier shit than they could ever hope to do.

Sunday, July 20

MNZ: Blender July 2008

This was in the Scottsville library free bin, and I guess it’s supposed to be a credible musical review magazine so that people who steal music from inside the internets know what’s worth using their bandwidth on. This is a really stupid magazine though - reads stupid, written stupid, stupid pictures - but I guess we live in stupid times. Back page interview was Perez Hilton who, as if I needed another reason to think he was completely useless, goes off on some tangent about how he hates people that glamorize drugs. Just in case there are any young, impressionable teens or tweeners or whatever reading this, if doing drugs makes you less like Perez Hilton, I’m sure your folks have some weed or pills you can pilfer. But if not, just buy cough syrup at the grocery store. In fact, steal it so you don’t hit that four a week limit they put on you. People like Perez Hilton in our modern open-minded society unfortunately feel like, beyond not being fucked with, they have a right to be respected. Now I understand I can’t throw beer bottles at a stupid fuck like him when I pass by on the street - that’s not right and I know it. But I don’t have to respect someone who is obviously, visually intellectually the whole deal, a fucking fool. And when they get to mouthing off about their dumb shit, then I have the right to throw beer bottles at them.

Friday, July 18

RETARDAR: the East African dude who owns the Columbia Country Market

Columbia, Virginia, is like the most dilapidated part of my home county of Fluvanna, Virginia, the one place I’ve seen in my life that most reminds me of the Bottoms in In the Heat of the Night, the series not the movie. There’s tons of drugs going on around there, yet decades ago it was a prominent town that they briefly toyed with moving the capital of the South to during the war. But floods and neglect have left a dilapidated piece of shit town. There’s one little bobo ass store with barred windows, and when I used to have to commute to Richmond a lot, I never really stopped much because his egg sandwiches were expensive and not as good as up the road in George’s Tavern. But last week, I had spent a hot morning fixing some leak I created with my big ass in a fancy lady’s ceramic shingles on her roof over her bedroom, and once I slapped tar on like half the roof, finally the leak was gone, though no logic followed where it was at whatsoever. But she gave me my check, and I figured, “fuck it, it’s lunchtime already, I’m gonna go cash this bama.” Except my wife called me and her car was broke down, so I had to go to Charlottesville’s 29 commercial district and fix the connector to the solenoid like a fucking chump (though I saved a ton of money in doing so). After all that, I finally went to Richmond to cash the check and put it in my bank, and only putting on a shirt to go inside the bank. I often try to spend as much of a day without a shirt on as possible, because to not have to wear a shirt all day long from waking up till bedtime, that’s like vacation but on a regular work day, and something I am proud to do sometimes. (One time, I even left the house without taking a shirt to force the issue.)
Anyways, on the ride home, it was pouring rain like the apocalypse was a-coming, and I wasn’t wearing a shirt and listening to shitty classic rock really loud since my satellite radio was broken, coming into Columbia, and it just felt like a double deuce was appropriate. So I stopped, expecting the old white asshole who had always owned that joint, but instead it was some older, oddly dressed black dude. I got myself a double deuce of the Corona, in honor of the Beatnuts, and went to the counter.
Now I don’t know how long it’s been out there and if it’s been everywhere and I just started noticing, but I came across an article on Hollywood (the Nigerian film industry) a couple months back, and have been wanting to get some ever since. Actually, it was an old issue of Raw Visions and their flour sack paintings from Ghana of Nigerian movies and the weird moral themes contained that got me intrigued. Well, the dude behind the counter was watching an African flick on a portable DVD player, and Galavision style wacky antics, but with really black people was going on. I asked him what it was and he said east African movie, from where he was from. I got confused and said, “Like Nigeria” before my geographic nerdliness kicked in immediately, so I felt like a chump while he tutored me on African geography. I asked him where he got it, and he said the African stores in D.C. had a ton of movies like this. So now I know where to get some Nollywood, although there’s actually a couple of Africa stores in Richmond too, so I should probably check that out before I go to D.C. and the MS-13s chop my hand off with a machete. Still, I find it odd that African movie meme triggered in my head a while back, then was fulfilled with the wacky dude who for some reason owns the country store in shit ass Columbia, Virginia, now. Perhaps this has all happened before and I am a monarch slave about to open up into whatever I was pre-programmed to do.

MNZ: New York Magazine April 7, 2008

I have been saving a big stack of stupid magazines of note and completely unnoteworthy but in my possession for whenever the internets bloggish pussy enticed me into wasting little chunks of my life again. This was one, which had a big stupid story about how some kids in a high school talked a bunch of shit on Facebook about their teacher, and all the messy bullshit that entailed. I have never even logged onto Facebook as it seems to me to be the new Myspace in the “pink is the new black” analogy, and Myspace is one of the stupidest fucking things I’ve ever waited to upload bullshit on my rural dial-up internet welfare machine.
There was also an article on the New York Mets starting rotation for this year, which was hilarious. You know, as much as I hate baseball and baseball players and baseball fans, it’s really hard to not like Pedro Martinez. Manny Ramirez too. That must’ve been some team when those two and David Ortiz were all kicking it together in the locker room… chicken fights and jobu sacrifices and midget mascots galore. It’s enough to help me forget what a bunch of stupid cockfuckers Red Sox fans usually are. Whenever I see some dumbass walk by in the grocery store (in fucking central Virginia) wearing a Boston hat - and it’s always the uber-fan alternate red hat with blue B on it - I know that a complete fucking asshole is walking past. Used to be I would think hateful things about them, but I’m mostly a peaceable man at this stage in my life, and I’m sure they’ll get it all back in spades when they raise their kids to be stupid fuckasses like themselves.

Saturday, July 12

RETARDAR: White Halfwit Town Sweeper

I have a special magnetism called Retardar that draws me into odd interactions with other people. I am not sure what it comes from, but it's always been a curse/blessing on my life. Well, I was painting this building on the main intersection of my hometown, and seven thousand people a day would ask me if the store was opening again, but it wasn't. After a while, I'd do that old man thing where I'd go, "If I had a dollar for everybody that asked me that, I could open the store myself." If I had a dollar for every time stupid cliches pissed me off after passing my lips, I'd have hellafied Ben Franklins in the bank coffers. Anyways, there's this guy who always is sweeping up around town near the old post office (the hefty white dude not Jesse, if you know the area), and he got to chatting me up. This was before the Chinese earthquake, but after one in Nebraska or somewhere weird like that, asking me if I knew about plate tectonics and all. He said, "If God starts shifting those tectonic plates against each other, it could make a earthquake that could swallow a city the size of Dayton, Ohio. What are we gonna do if God starts doing that?" And I was intrigued by his combination of belief in god with an understanding of science, and how they combined together, and though he seems to most probably like a dim-witted big guy from Of Mice and Men type town character, I was glad to talk him up, though I was also ready to break the conversation so I could finish loading my ladders and go home. I got all my shit strapped down, climbed in the truck, yelled at him across the parking lot a friendly, "Take it easy." He raised his hand into a thumb's up sign at me, very friendly like. I waved back, but he jabbed the thumb's up towards me emphatically. So I gave him a thumb's up back. I think that's the first time I've done a thumb's up since I was like six years old. It was empowering.

Thursday, July 10

RETARDAR: Hippie Vagrant

[This also is from an unpublished zine from like ten months ago.]
The next day, I had band practice for our big first show of the stupid rap group that weekend, and I knew I'd want a giant cold beer to hold in my hands like a microphone as I ripped through the 3000 lines of handwritten text I'd memorized in the past two weeks, so I dug together $3.50 in quarters from the floor of the truck, for a pair of Miller forties, ideally. Drove the wife's car since my truck's service engine light was harshing my life buzz, and of course, there was no gas in it, so I was gonna have to put the drinking quarters into the oil industry's coffers instead of my decrepit shriveled liver. But then it occurred to me that our lone credit card's finance charges hadn't went through, so even though it was near the limit, there was that brief touch of under-limit to use on gasohol so I could use my quarters for gassing myself up. Which I did, but since the only gas pumps in Palmyra are full serve (meaning over-priced) run by a big fat dude who always acts like I'm some sort of freakish albino not-from-around-here monster (it's the dreads) where if you had to pay with a credit card, he'd grumpily waddle his way into the tiny office area of his establishment (one of them old school gas joints with the single pair of pumps under an overhang that comes off the front of the building), sighs as he sits behind the thrift store desk and runs through your card, internally cursing the five percent he's losing because I wasn't from around there, then struggles to get up after it takes nine minutes to process through his phone line, on and on and on and none of it comforting. So I rode to Zion's Crossroads to the big interstate intersectional trucks top gas joint by the Wal-Mart distribution center, knowing that even if I couldn't buy any, I'd get to sniff at those lovely fried chicken thighs. Got my gas, and knew I could even get my forties on the credit card, but only got one because buying ten bucks of gas and two forties on a credit card seemed a little too scummy a Thursday evening thing for me to do that week, even if it technically was Little Friday. Some road dog ragged straggly haired hippie dude was sitting there with a patchwork backpack, flashing me a peace sign (which always makes me laugh; who the fuck believes in peace anymore after all the diseased brains we know exist parade around us all day long?). As I walked to the store, he said, "Can you spare any change, brutha?" I said, "Catch me on the way out, man." Got my forty and gas squared away, at least until the finance charges come due over the course of the next nine years of my life, came out and went to the car and got the dude the $3.50 in quarters, figuring they were probably gonna be drinking quarters for him too (or maybe smoking quarters if he feared the local authorities of central Virginia). He told me he had just come from a Rainbow gathering up in Maine, hung with a bunch of college kids who took him back to New York City and styled him out in bars and all, but he had to roll because he, like any sensible person, figured out New York was straight devilry. I asked where he was going. "California." I told him to tell California I said hey, and then he asked if I had any nuggets.

Tuesday, July 8

RETARDAR: The French Winemaker's Assistant

[Actually, this was from like ten months ago and a zine my zine hook-up never remembered to print, so I figured I'd post it up since I wanted to start doing Retardard's on here anyways.]
I have, most of the time, had a strange ability to draw interactions with oddball people in passing, perhaps due to my trustworthy eyes or my naive desire for conversation with people lacking the normal sterilization of personality that 99% of the humans I come in contact with suffer from. Anyways, my retardar, as I've come to affectionately call this ability (or curse) of mine, has been kicking once again, which to me means that I'm making the correct decisions on the direction of my life.
Last week, we had like $45 and I was to spend $30 on groceries at the vegetable store and all, which I did like a rainman on The Price is Right, calculating everything to the quarter dollar. I had thought about blowing the last ten bucks on shit to make hamburgers, but decided against it, going for the responsible long-term fridge-stocking decisions of eggs, butter, that type of stuff. Except the wife is pregnant and craved burgers, that being all the goading I needed to go back to the store to get the necessaries. Usually in this case, I'd go to the Food Lion for the more edible hormone-infested meat products, which is like a 20-minute trip one-way, but that day I decided to go to the IGA in town five minutes away (which is gonna be replaced by one of those Food Lions in the coming months anyways), to buy their half-rancid cow products. Some dude was outside standing by a minivan with jumper cables, looking lost. I asked if he needed a jump and he answered yes in a voice that made me think he might be a gay Mexican. I tried to jump it, but it just clicked, showing his starter was dead. We used broken language to figure out this was his second time his minvan needed jumping that day and I tried to explain it was probably the starter, but he didn't get it. I asked him how far away he lived, he told me 8 kilometers, so I said if he couldn't get someone else to jump it successfully by the time I got done in the store, I'd give him a ride home. No one did, so i did. Turns out he was a French dude working at a local vineyard, really nice guy though I had a hard time understanding him sometimes. But we went to the vineyard, I drove him to the trailer they gave him for free to live in since he was assisting in the making of wines and all. He offered me a bottle and I tried to turn it down, but he insisted. So I took it, which reminds me, it's in the fridge nwo, right next to a big bag of greens I bought at the vegetable store that day. He also asked if I knew where he could get some weed, as he hadn't had weed the whole four months he'd lived in Virginia. But talking to the French dude and being able to help him, it made my day. It made dinner alte, and also the service engine light suddenly flashed on unexplainedly on the way home. But fuck it.