Rich Koslowski: Writer, Artist, Genius
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Happy Friggin' Holidays!

If I become president I will do my best to pass legislation that Christmas be celebrated once every four years like the Olympics. To make it more special. It'll become a true event once again! Is it just me or does it seem like this special ONE DAY has become more like a 40- 45 day extraveganza?! Let's see...The commercials and build up begins before Thanksgiving now--used to start right after but now we're gearing up a couple weeks before just to make sure we don't, y'know, miss it or something--the radio stations start their 24 hour a day blitz right after Thanksgiving which gives us roughly 24 hours times 44ish days...umm...1000 plus hours of hearing 300 different versions (most bad) of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and White Christmas. By the way, what the hell is up with that Bing Crosby/David Bowie tune?! Can't we officially kill that one off already? For Jesus' sake? Seriously. I am not being irreverant whilst using Jesus' name, here...that song just really, really sucks and I do not think the Lord would dig it.

And we don't stop on December 26th anymore, do we? Nope. There's the returning of gifts, more parties, after Christmas sales to rush out for, and my personal favorite...The errand that some relative gratiously granted me...THE GIFT CARD!

To me the gift card tells me that they didn't really care enough to take a few precious moments of their busy schedules to actually give my gift, or me for that matter, any real thought. Too much effort I guess to actually try and think what Rich might want this year. I know, I know...I'm a real toughy to buy for, what with my not having any apparent hobbies or activities anyone would know about. I mean, God forbid they realize I am a voracious reader of novels (all kinds), comic books (ANYTHING comic book related! Toys, statues, memorabilia, movies!), graphic novels...Heck! I even work in the field...Think that'd tip 'em off?! And have any of them noticed for the past 30 or so years that I dig sports? Both watching and playing them. Guess not. How about the fact that I'm an avid movie goer? Love collecting nostalgic toys from when I was a kid. Food. Wine. Beer. Art. Art supplies. MUSIC! My god I've over 500 cds, records, 45s! I even DJed as a part-time gig for a few years! I'm always talking about music!

So, does anyone take that into account? Does anyone put their little thinking caps on? Do a little digging? Not usually (Sandy does. I'll give her some props or she'll skewer me).

The gift card. What a lazy friggin' cop-out that item is. Come on people! Give it a little effort! Remember! It's the thought that counts. And you're sending us out to have to use this gift card anyways...So if you, God forbid, get us a cd or book we don't care for we're going to have to go to the store anyways to exchange it, right? But at least we'll know you've tried, dammit...We'll know you've TRIED!

I try. I'm a pretty damn good gift-buyer if I do say so myself. This year I got my new brother-in-law's name when my wife's family picked names. I know he's a huge Elvis nut. Very cool, I think to myself, I'm gonna seek out some cool Elvis stuff! And I'm not talking the same old, same old crap anyone can find at K-Mart. I'm talking something really unique! So, for the past few months I've kept my eyes open. Not really too hard a task...Just putting forth the teensiest bit of effort, really, to keep one's Eyes Open. And, voila! I manage to score some pretty kick-ass items. I find an unopened box of 36 packs (all unopened of course) of Elvis trading cards from 1978! Extremely cool! I find an Elvis jackknife...Okay, it's a newer item, and pretty easy to obtain, but still pretty cool and a nice compliment to the cards. But then! whilst shopping at a little record shop/nostalgic toy store here in Milwaukee called Flipsville Records (not at the mega malls people!) I find the coup de grace! An authentic movie poster circa 1958ish of one of Elvis' movies with Nancy Sinatra! And the best part is that I don't know which movie! WHY? Because this poster is from MEXICO! It's an authentic, 1950's Elvis movie poster from Mexico! It's going to blow his mind! It is the coolest thing. I'd really like to keep it for myself. AND!!! I get the darn thing framed to boot. And the frame job is SPECTACULAR (think of Teri Hatcher's breasts! Get it? When she guested on Seinfeld? Aw forget it)!

You see?...That's putting some thought into it. And you know what? I feel good about it. What's that other old saying?...Oh yeah, "It's better to give than to receive." It is. Especially when you know you did good. When you tried.

So my next act as President will be to ban the gift cards!

My fondest personal memories of Christmas as a small boy growing up were the two (back-to-back if I remember correctly) Christamses where my mother totally went bonkers and on the day of Christmas blew a gasket (or two) and tore down the tree, removed all the presents, and all the while (as me and my two brothers looked on in sheer horror) berated us that we didn't know the true meaning of Christmas and should all be ashamed...I was around 10 years old...I just wanted a few toys, ma.

Anyone ever see "Mommy Dearest?"

Yep, we had some real doozies while I was growing up. My wife, Sandy, wondered why I was such a Scrooge about Christmas when we were first dating. I gave her the gorey details about those infamous family gatherings. Since then (we've been married 16 years) she's come to know my mother and more fully realized my Scroogeness. Anyone ever seen "Everybody Loves Raymond?" I could sue Ray Romano for using my mother in his show. I've gone back and scoured my parents house looking for the hidden cameras but found nothing. Apparently Romano has some pretty good connections.

I probably wouldn't celebrate at all if it weren't for my 4 year old daughter. She's innocent. She doesn't have to know the loathing I personally feel inside about Christmas and the over-commercialization. I am making it my mission in life to make all her memories special and good when it comes to these holidays, birthdays, etc. To see the look of joy on her face!...There's nothing better. So I suck it up and do it for her. And you know what?...I couldn't be any happier doing it.

That's what's special about Christmas for me.

Word! r

Viva La France!

Man it feels good! I have waited over a year and a half to see my graphic novel, The King––or should I say "LE KING"––printed right! As many of you know, my book, The King was released in the summer of 2005 and there were some errors made in that printing. Now, don't get me wrong...the book turned out okay,and the readers still enjoyed it, but overall it was a disappointment as I put so much effort into the book and then it comes back with some pretty serious printing errors. Regardless of the printing errors, though, there were a couple of very nice french fellows who picked up a copy of The King out at Comic-Con and expressed how much they liked the book to me. They then informed me that they were publishers and would like to do a french edition. I was extremely excited. I thanked them for their complimentary words but then pointed out that there were some printing deficencies with the Top Shelf edition they held in their hands. I remember vividly the one gentleman closing his eyes and softly shaking his head saying, "No worries...we will print it right".

One and a half years later and a package arrives at my door. When i opened the box and pulled out this magnificent, hardcover book that said "Le King" on the cover I could hardly believe my eyes! It was huge...and a friggin' hardcover! Then I paged through it. The printing was flawless. The colors popped, the blacks were BLACK! The print job on this version was beautiful...the way the book was supposed to look like when it came out here in 2005. I got more than a bit verklempt! To see my work look so nice...I'm not ashamed to admit that I got choked up. And not only was the quality sweet but they went and made the book BIGGER! It's bigger, thicker and really stands out! A very, very proud moment for me as an artist.

So please accept my most heartfelt thanks everyone at Treize Etrange (the french pubs)! And to all my fans, please check out the french version if you get a chance (i'll be lugging copies around to all the shows). At the very least to see the difference. Check out the french publishers website at:

In other news... We have FINALLY finished cutting, bagging, labeling, boxing, sweating, crying, etc. the "Jim's Jerky" comic/jerky combos and will be shipping the 6000 copies out tomorrow to Diamond!!! They will then, in turn, be shiping them worldwide to all the comic shops and into the salivating gullets of comics geekdom! Thank Odin that task is finally done! Three weeks of Jerky is enough. Seriously.

In other, other news... I am a huge music fan. Have been since i rollerskated around the furnace as a 5 year old boy listening to my 45s of Elton John's Crocodile Rock and KC and the Sunshine Band! Hey, the basement "roller rink" seemed HUGE to a 5 year old. Anyways, I'd like to "turn you on" to a group that has been grossly overlooked since its debut back in the early 90s. The band Jellyfish. A little Queen, The Beatles, Beach Boys combined with a heavy dose of pure magic. You really cannot properly describe their music as it is totally unique. Their harmonies are beautiful and flawless, they rock, the lyrics are so inventive and clever they make me, as a writer, jealous and awe-struck, and their complete originality was what made them a sensation for a brief time and also, regrettably led to their demise in a totally unoriginal 90s radio market (this was well before satellite radio was available). They only put out two albums before disbanding due to artistic differences and, I have to believe, a record company that simply did not know how to properly market their extraordinary music. These two albums however, Bellybutton and Spilt Milk, are two of the best albums I've ever heard if not The Best! And this is coming from the biggest Queen fan on the planet, man!

So, when I heard that there was a very limited, 4 disc box set of their music that came out a couple years back I was elated! There was previously unreleased tunes, concert recordings, demos, interviews!...elation!

Then I tried to find a copy. Elation gone. No record stores had one and it was then that I learned it was a very limited release and quickly sold out to the small, but very devoted, base of fans. So I went on ebay, of course. For the past 2 years I have been outbid on that box set (called "Fan Club" btw) and have seen it go for as high as $405! Out of my price range, unfortunately. But I knew one day my ship would come in if I excercised enough patience. Alas, my ship docked last week and I couldn't be any happier. And the docking fee was $199.00. Do I like what I paid for? Was it too much? Well, I've already listened to it about 12 times. It makes me happier than I can describe when I listen to it and sadder than I can express for the "what could have been" factor. Unbelievably sad that these geniuses couldn't make it work. But, on the other hand, happy that they were able to put out 2 perfect albums. Perfect. And now this box set of previously unreleased material. A little more magic after all these years. A merry Christmas for me, indeed, this year thanks to a band that broke up over a decade ago.

Now that's a Christmas miracle. If you need one I highly recommend seeking out some Jellyfish.

Word! r

That Whitney Houston Song!...

Every time we go out to eat lunch at our favorite burger/custard place, Culvers (fastest growing chain in the USA right now for a reason! Mmmm Good!), I think of that gol-durned Whitney Houston song, "I Believe The Children Are Our Future"...You know the one. Why? you might ask? Let me tell you...

We are presently smack-dab in the middle of a bona fide cold front here in our beloved hellhole called Wisconsin. Temperatures are in the teens with windchills in the negatives. It's been that way for a couple weeks. Actually it's like that most of the time, but anyways back to my rant...Our "future," the children (the high schoolers to be specific), must be either a) complete morons, b) complete idiots, or c) somehow gained the superpower to allow them to be impervious to any harm. I'm gonna go with "a" or "b" and here's why...These "Holders Of The Future" choose to not only wear no hats or gloves and always have there hoodies unzipped, but now, on top of those brilliant choices have also decided that proper footwear isn't necessary. These nincompoops are wearing flip-flops on there feet (No socks in case you're wondering)! Yes...flip-flops. I don't know if they think they're being cool (no pun intended there) or rebellious here, but they're just flat out being idiots (choice "b" it is, I guess). This is our future?

The other observation I have made at our lunch outings about these brainchilds is that, seemingly, none of them are physically able to CHEW WITH THEIR FRIGGIN' MOUTHS CLOSED!! What is up with that?! It's disgusting. Didn't you get cuffed one when you were a kid if you kept chewing with your mouth open? I did. Actually I didn't have to, really. Know why? I CHEWED WITH MY MOUTH CLOSED! And it was easy to learn, really. All my parents had to do was tell us to--and I'm quoting here--"chew with your mouth closed please." Huh? Oh, sure. Okay. Done. I guess maybe that brings us to the second line of that Whitney song..."Teach them well and let them lead the way." Maybe that's the problem? Maybe their parents have simply never instructed them? Hm? Food for thought (pun intended). Another sign of the decline and destruction of western civilization I guess. Of course if they have these numbskulls for kids who (God, I hope) are getting frostbitten toes from their choices in footwear maybe the parents have just given up on them. Maybe they're thinking the old "survival of the fittest" or "thinning the herd" thing here. Dunno. But they're our future folks! They are the future.

I must point out that this idiocy is not isolated to only the high school kids. Much to my amazement we have spotted an inordinate amount of college kids adorning themselves in similar attire. It causes a bit more headscratching I must say. I mean, it is assumed that high schoolers, in general, are stupid. That's a given. But college kids? Yeah, now that I think about it they're pretty stupid, too. Oh well.

Moral of the story? Invest heavy in flip-flops.

On the comic book front!... "Jim's Jerky" will be shipping to stores in the next week to ten days! And let me tell you that this little project has just about killed us. I cannot begin to tell you how time consuming it is to 1) get jerky 2) cut jerky into tiny little pieces by hand with a poultry scissors (my thumb's been numb for a full week) 3) put little pieces of jerky into little plastic bags 4) seal bags 5) oh yeah, we had to put little labels on each bag first 6) put little glue dots on each little bag of jerky 7) stick little bag on little comic 8) put comic/jerky into box 9) repeat steps 1 through 8 SIX THOUSAND FRIGGIN' TIMES!!!! And, of course, that doesn't account for all the work put into making the damned comic book in the first place, and making all the labels for the boxes, assembling the boxes, shipping this thing out...blah, blah, friggin' BLAH!!! Am I whining? Hell yes! This just may go down as the worst brilliant idea I've ever had! I simply had no idea this comic would sell this well. Totally underestimated my sheer brilliance and that is something I don't often do. Lesson learned.

But, in the long run, I am certain that this particular installment of The 3 Geeks will go over very well. I am incredibly proud of it despite the fact that it's killing me.

Look for it at your local comic store soon.

Word! r

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