Notes From a Desk Calendar (Underground)

So, for Christmas my father bought me a desk calendar titled “I Hate Everything,” which promised 365 days of something to hate. In other words, my dad wanted to tell me to go fuck myself. This calendar was clearly written by a psychopath:

Tuesday, May 29 2012. I hate that the air on a plane has to be recycled. I hate that the cool stuff is always on the other side of the plane. I hate that there aren’t enough pillows. I hate the fear that the airline lost my luggage–again. I hate that my carry-on never fits.

This calendar was written by Matthew DiBenedetti. He was born in a hollowed out sycamore tree in the wilds of Hoboken in 1883.

Wednesday, May 30 2012

I hate that I never discovered dinosaur bones.

As a lad of one, Matthew loved to learned about civil war trivia and decided that he was going to fight in it. He did, despite the war ending some twenty years before he died. His parents put on a show with a number of friends and staged the first re-enactment. It was awkward because a lot of the survivors were still, you know, alive, and they complained that they didn’t get the rape and torture of their families down right. Plus, General Sherman said they never got the fire quite right. More orange than red, he said.

Thursday, May 31 2012.

I hate that scary movies keep me up at night. I hate that when I pull the covers over my head, I feel safe. I hate knowing that is so not true.

When he turned three, Matthew was declared a genius by his schoolmarm. He was sent to a school for advanced students only for his new marm to discover that Matthew could neither read, nor write, nor speak English. Matthew’s files got mixed up with a man named Smitty, who was a genius. Smitty was sent to an “Institution” where he was promptly murdered with the other dullards of the time period. Smitty left blueprints for a waterless toilet but, alas, the math involved so complicated that no on could understand it.

Friday, June 1 2012

I hate When I run out of dryer sheets. I hate that all shirts aren’t wrinkle-free. I hate starched clothes.

At five, young Matthew discovered that his father was a local politicians, by the name of Krist Cristie, who had restarted the “Know Nothing Party.” Matthew took his father’s message to heart and burnt down several priests and hundreds of German immigrants. He stole their strudel. He did not enjoy the taste.

Saturday/Sunday, June 2/3 2012

I hate that I’m always hungry. I hate that SpaghettiOs are for kids. I hate that Saturday-morning cartoons aren’t nearly as good as they used to be.

At eight, Matthew wrote his first daily desk calendar titled “Things I Am Not Very Fond Of.” Each day had one item that Matthew was not fond of. He ran out of things that he was not fond of in March and the rest of the year simply reads: Beets. The calendar sold very well and became the official calendar of the Silver Party.

Monday, June 4 2012

I hate clotheslines. I hate that you can’t see them in the dark. I hate outdoor motion lights.

On Monday, June 4 2012, Matthew DiBenedetti sent me a cease and desist letter to stop making fun of him. Slander, he said. Slander! I told him that I would meet in in the center of town at low-noon for a duel. I’ll let you know what happens next week, gentle readers.


Most Famous Stories in the Portland Review

What is this? Helen. They want me to tell them more stories about famous foist stories in The Portland Review? Christ. I got a stomach problems. God. These kids don’t care. Fine. Fine!

Back in 1853 I was a clerk for a law firm on wall street, and since I’m a rather elderly guy today it might be hard for me to remember, but I did meet Herman Melville.


Mell, as his friend’s preferred not to call him, was a janitor sweeping all up over my firm. He kept coming by and asking me questions.

“Hello good sir.”

“What can I do ya for?” I said, doing some very important paperwork.

“Were you asleep?”

“Just restin’ my eyes, kiddo. What’s up?”

I was up shitcrick. This no nothing party member janitor found me napping at work. Now I made a handsome salary in those days, which was about seventeen cents a month. God, could you live like a king on that. I used to eat nothing but ham, which is odd because I’m a chosen person, if you know what I mean. What? Oh come on Helen. I’m just kidding. My uncle was in the vaudeville. Zeppo Marx. You know. The Marx Brother that the Marx Brother’s all hated. Zeppo. Yeah yeah.

“Good sir, can you do me a favor,” this Herman kid asked. “Could you read this story of mine, and start a literary magazine and publish it?”

“Kid, I don’t know the foist thing about publishing. I’m not even sure I know how to read.”

And then he pulled a gun on me and the Lone Ranger came out with Hemingway riding him instead of a horse and I took a nosh from the onion on my belt, which was not the style at the time because onions had just gone out of style, and well. Blackmail is such an ugly word. That’s what Hermy said. Uh.

Helen. I need a Fresca. What? Sanka? Well, that’s not the same. Sigh. Whatever.

And that’s how Tin House got started. Now stop calling me.



Most Famous Stories in the Portland Review

Morty (Last name unknown) was the founder and editor-in-chief of The Portland Review from 1921-2010. He is currently retired, living a life of modest luxury in Florida. “Helen!” he screams, “I need more cream. It’s hot out.” These are his stories.

The Killers (1926, Ernest Hemingway). Oh Christ. I remember sending that acceptance letter out in the mail. Great story. A little weird that there was little to no dialogue in it, but god, the writing was great. I think Ernie narrated it from a mouse’s point of view, originally. I can’t remember. You’d have to ask the currentReview editor to dig that one up. But man. He (Hemingway) hadn’t published very much at that point, I think just this book about cats, and was living in some European country eating biscuits or something). So my gut reaction to this story was that it was great and that we had to publish it. I mailed out the acceptance letter and the very next day I got a call.

“Yeah,” I said, answering the phone.

“Thank you.” God that voice. Sounded like. Well. It just sounded like some guy. Nothing special. It was like he wasn’t real. Some ghost was calling it. Or a computer, if they had those at the time. Maybe a calling machine. But the voice was just there, like a lump of crap. Flat. Affectationless. Dead to the world. For a second there I thought someone was about to off himself and called me, wrong number of course, as the his suicide call. Also, I hadn’t had a change to drink my morning Joe.

“Lissen kid. Don’t kill yerself until you get the person you wanna talk to. Like a lady. Ladies are good to talk to. They listen.”

“This is Ernie.”

“Yeah, great. And my friend Bongo Bob has a bridge he can sell ya.”

“No. I wrote The Killers. The story you accepted.”

“Jumping Jesus on a pogostick,” I said. “Don’t you live in Canasia or something? How’d the mail get there so fast.”

“I just want to thank you for publishing my story.”

“Oh yeah, it was pretty good. Had some suggestions.”

Ernie gulped. Young writers needed to be wrangled, you know? And it’s my job to do the wrangling. We, editors, see something that can be developed and we do that. No writer is born fully-formed. You see these chuckleheads being published in the Nude Yorker. You think that comes that easily? No. Editors mold the prose. The unsung heroes of the writing world, us. Editors. Someday someone’ll write something about whatever it is we do titled Whatever It Is We Do Is A Secret. But I digress.

“Kiddo, put a few lines of dialogue in there. Some breathing room. No one wants to read a list of cheese.”

“Kinds of cheese.”


“There are a lot of kinds of cheese. Brie. Monster. Charlie Cheese. Uh. Wednesdaydale. Yellow. Orange….”

And then the goober was getting ready to list things, so I cut the joker off.

“Dialogue. Scene. Stop with these long paragraphs and flowery sentences. You’re nuts are purple but your prose shouldn’t be.”

“My nuts are pink.”

“Well, what do you have that’s purple?”

“My guts.”

“You need to go out there and live for a year son. Go hunt a lion. That’s how I got my job.”

And then I hung it and drank my coffee.

That, my friends, is how literature is born. And a legend. Helen. My cream! I need my cream!

If I still had a prostate. Uh. Well. Nevermind.

Notes From a Desk Calendar (Underground)

So, for Christmas my father bought me a desk calendar titled “I Hate Everything,” which promised 365 days of something to hate. In other words, my dad wanted to tell me to go fuck myself. This calendar was clearly written by a psychopath:

Thursday, May 17 2012

I hate that I love salt.

Come, Pilgrims! Once more we must tredge through the much of sin to reach our destination of the eternal love of our Lord, sucking at his bosom for all of the eternities. Come! Come! We must hate that things that we love and learn to love the things that we hate to stamp out all of the malice in our hearts for our heats must be free! Free! Heart free mind clear!

Friday, May 18 2012

I hate slugs.

Thine enemies whilst crawl on thine bellies on thine ground and try to slime thee. We must avoid. But, we must not hate them for they are fulfilling a particular porpoise in Lord’s design. Of course, we must crush as we see fit for they are testing our mettle! Come! Let us show the goodness that we are made of by crushing! Crush!

Saturday/Sunday, May 19/20 2012

I hate that my teen mix tape was probably left in a car I sold years ago. I hate that someone else is still laughing at the songs I had on that tape.

No! That bothersome beast Nostalgia threatens to devalue our sense of valueness. No! Do not listen! For did Christ listen to the Devil in the Dessert? Custard, I believe. The most sinful of all things! Quick. Some Angel Food Cake. Succor. Life. Remember your past, but overcome. We all HAD to listen to Moz at some point in our lives, but we live! We grow! Adult! Life! Plus we don’t hate minorities like Moz.

The devil has many cats.

Tuesday, May 22 2012

I hate leaving a tip for someone who doesn’t deserve it. I hate when I don’t get a tip. I hate when people give you unwanted advice. I hate when someone gets to the free stuff before I do.

Greed! The Enemy that wants us molten, like bread. Let he who is without stone throw the first sin! No! Judge not! Tip. Tip merrily for life is hard stuff! Don’t judge! Remember the devil and his cats. All free things are not created in equality. For instance, for no price at all I will stab you in the genitals. Is that what you want? Oh please please please let me get what I want, you say. NAY! Forward! Pilgrim! The journey matters! The destination not so much. 

Wednesday, May 23 2012

I hate being the chauffeur because I have the largest car. I hate that nobody kicks in for gas money. I hate that the Internet wasn’t around when I was in school. I hate that technology keeps getting smaller, but my fingers stay the same size. I hate that babies have fat fingers.

Pilgrims! Sometimes the much will overcome. You can’t go on but you must GO…ON… GO! ON! The ravages of age deafen us to the glories of death. Lord is on our side. Come. Let us rest for some TaB. That shall give us the vitamins we need. TaB! 

Thursday, May 24 2012

I hate that wind chimes don’t always chime. I hate the wind. I hate that you saw that coming. I hate being predictable.

Pilgrims! Our patience has come to fruition. We are breaking the Dev-Eel down in the most basic of stuffs. Soon. Defeat will be ours.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I hate that I can’t afford things on the menu that are “market price.” I hate that seafood tastes like the sea.

Yeah, I don’t know about this one either, you guys. Maybe we should just put our headphones on and listen to “The Passenger” by Iggy Pop for the rest of the trip. The music will let us ignore all! Pilgrims!

Saturday/ Sunday, May 26/27 2012

I hate that I hated school. I hate that I want to go back to college hate that teachers don’t get paid more. I hate that I don’t get paid more.

For every righteous hate you must MUST not turn that hate inward, Pilgrims. You may hate, but not with your heard, as Lord said, “I hate you, but not myself.”

Monday, May 28 2012

I hate that after watching Titanic four times they didn’t see the iceberg sooner, not even once. I hate that Rose didn’t make room for Jack on that piece of wood. I hate that she said she wouldn’t let go, but did. I hate that you know I liked Titanic. (It was for the historic aspect, I assure you)

Ah! The devil doubts himself! Pilgrims! Progress is ours! The goal is in our sight. Well, mine anywhom. Come. The Beast awaits! 


Most Famous Stories in the Portland Review

Hiya folks, this is Morty here again. I’m here to tell yas about the most famousest stories ever poiblished in The Portland Review. You can read part unos of this exciting new venture here: Not there! Here!

Now, before we go onta today’s story, let’s see if we can’t find us a bedder pitture of me. Morty. The second editor-in-chef for the rag. Now, back in those days the positions was called editor-in-chef and not capitalized because you worked for the cafeteria at the university and were considered worse than dogshit. Goddamned privileged students. But I diegress.

Oh jumping Jesus on a pogo stick. Helen! Ya been futzing with my computer box again! I don’t want to… oh…


Yeah. Anywhom. It’s unfortunabadly that we can’t find use a pitture of me this week, but next!

Today I’ll be talking about publishing Richard Yates’s Jody Rolled Some Bones.

Now, dis was the story that made all Dick famous. Foist published in The Portland Review in the late 50’s (1950’s or 1850’s, I can’t really remember) and then later picked up by some rag by the name o Harper’s Atlantic. 

It’s a classic story about sodgers in World War deuce and how their lives are decided by luck, no control over nothing. What? Sodger? You know, Helen. Like those guys who go to the wars. S-O-L-D-I-E-R-S. Sodgers. Christ. Ya got too much cream in yer ears. Gotta get rid o that infection.

So, originally Yates included this description of his ex-wife in the middle of the story:

goddamned cunt motherfucker cigarette need must kill all mother fucker mother fucker mother fucker.

And I cleaned that up for public consumption. Now this really disrupted the narrative, so I called Yates up.

“Hello Richard,” I said.

“You cockshit,” he said, “what do you want?”

“I’ve got a question about this story of yours that we agreed to publish.”

“You can’t not publish it. No backsies.”

Now, at that point I realized that that was true. No backsies. So I resolved to READ every submission sent to us, and not just pick a few at random. Had that written in the charter. So that’s why The Portland Review reads every submission now, unlike some rags out there today.

“Right,” I said. “I know, but you’ve got this paragraph of profanities in the middle of the story. You got them goys at the base being drilled by the sarge or whatever. And then you stop the story to go on this five-page-one-paragraph rant about your ex-wife.”

“Did you know that my daughter is dating some fruitcake with a candy-striped coat? Bald Jew.”

“Well, Richard. This might soiproise ya, but I’m a bald Jew.”

“What do you want?”

“Could you edit some o that profanities out? Not all of it, mind you, I think it’s good. But just some of it. Also, all of your stories seem to be about either sodgers. TB patients. Failed sculptoring ladies. Failed marriages. And guys who write ad copy and want to be real writers.”

“Fuck you.”

Needless to say I wanted to pull the story, but published it with that five-page-one-paragraph rant o cuss words. Then the Atlantic Herper’s took  it and then cut that pagraph out. Pussies.


What? Helen? Whaddya mean this story was had been low-hanging fruit? It was true. And that’s all that matters. Years later Richard came up to me and said, “Thank you for being the foist to publisher me. I wouldn’t be the sexcessful alcoholic I am today if it weren’t for you.”

Eh. I should get an assistant to type tings out for me.

Until next of the time!

More Dumb Search Terms

Well, there am be some change rumblings at The Review. More on that later. But first! Here are some more dumb search terms you’ve used to get here! Hurrah!

1) Julie Newmar Ass

For the record, let’s see what I can find on the Internet regarding this:


2) Getting Dog to Wear Doggles

Sarah Marshall was just asking me, Michael Magnes, the other day. Q: How do you getting dog to wear doggles? A: Practice! I mean. Carefully! I mean. Leave me alone!

3) Asshole Eat

I assume this is in reference to that time Anthony Bourdain ate a warthog anus on None of the Reservations. Or, you want to learn more about Kevin Smith!!/ThatKevinSmith/statuses/3537690616143872

4) Fresh Cum on Her Face After Nice Sex Spanish Sex Porn Sex Vid

No one likes spoiled cum on a face. Cum goes bad quickly… aw… hell… after nice sex? What about not so nice sex… ahh… I got nothing on this one. HEY! DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS PORNOGRAPHY ON THE INTERNET!?

5) We Hate Cats

We sure do!

6) Fart Catcher

What, like a baseball mitt made to catch farts? Phew. I’ve been trying to make that for years. We don’t have the technology.

7) Rock

You know that you’re depressed if you find yerself searching for “rock” on the Internet. You know what the next most common search term is? Noose.

8) Watch Man’s Face While Getting Blowjob

So, you don’t want to get blow, you just want to watch a man’s face, a man who is getting blown? Way to live life!

Happy Thursday!


Most Famous Stories in the Portland Review

Hiya folks, this is Morty here. No last name. Just Morty. I work for the Portland Review. Hey. Should that “The” be capitalized? Hah. I guess so. I was never able to quite figure that one out. So. Hiya folks. Morty here. And I made a mistake. I used to work for The Portland Review. You see, I’m eighty-nine years old. What? Oh. Sorry. My wife is telling me that I’m fifty-six. Either way, I used to work for the, I mean, The Portland Review back in the day. Here’s a picture of me:

Hey. I thought I had more hair. And more face.

So, one of the young punks who works for the, cripes, The Portland Review asked me to comment on some of the more famous works that have graced our fine feathered pages. Michael Magnes was his name. Managing Editing was his game. I can only assume that he’s dead now, since most Managing Editors only last a few days. It’s a vicious position, why I myself moidered seventeen of my Managing Editors back in my day. Course, it was legal to do so. What? Honey? Moidered? You know. Moidered. When you kill some goy. What? Not a Gentile. A Goy. G-U-Y. Christ. Ya got whitefish in yer ears Helen? Moidered? M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D-E-D, uh. Anywhom.

Magnes asked me to comment on some of the most famous stories in The Portland Review. Here’s the first installment. The foist of many I hope. What? What do you mean my accent isn’t consistent?

A Small Good Thing by Raymond Carver.

Ah. The famous Ray Carve. Everyone knows this story. It’s about a breadmaker or a goat or something. Foist published in 1983, I believe. No. 1982. See, most people thing that it was published in Ploughsares in 1983, but those creeps just copied our pages. And they actually paid Ray. You know, I agreed to publish it over a cup o Sanka, Sanka being the only beverage available in Portland at the time. God it was awful. That first line: Saturday afternoon she drove to the bakery in the shopping center.

Originally read: Saturday evening she drove to the bakery in the shopping center.

“Jesus,” I said to Ray. “Why would anyone go to a bakery in the evening?”

“Because,” he said, as he lighted a cigarette, “baked goods.”

“That ain’t an answer.”

“What’s in an answer,” he said, sipping his Sanka.

“You creep,” I said. “Lissen. Change that line to afternoon. Also, instead of a bakery how about a shampoo store? Everyone needs shampoo.”


And then he sent me the story with that one line-change, evening to afternoon, so I figured that he changed everything I asked him to. So I lighted a cigarette and published it. Three years later I read it and realized that creep didn’t do a goddamned thing.

So I called Ray up and said, “Jesus Christ, you crumb bum. How dare you not lissen to my changes. I’m the goddamned editor.”

“Morty,” he said, “calm down.”


“You know how the story ends?”

“What, with the people eating the bread after their dog or something has died?”

“Yeah,” he said, “dog.”

“And you wrote, smell this it’s heavy and rich and they smell it and they taste it and it taste coarse and sweet and it’s a small good thing after all of the tragedy that has befallen them?”

“Yep,” he said, “after their dog was eaten by a Leopard.”

“Hmm. Maybe you should change that to their kid?”

“I lighted a cigarette.”

“I’m just saying. Also, Shampoo is home-ier.”

“No,” he said, drinking a Sanka, “it isn’t.”

“Are you drinking a Sanka?”

“Sanka is a small good thing.”

“It tastes like shit.”

And then he hung up.


Well folks, hope you enjoyed the first installment of “Most Famous Stories in The Portland Review.” Noice to be back here. Morty out. What? Helen? You need more cream? Sure. I’ll just go to the bakery and purchase some. TiVo me the program. You know. The one with the negros on it. What? I can’t hear you. Eh.