Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.

Radio Free Broadside

July 23, 2009 By: Category: Friends

I am from a small town outside of Flint, Michigan called Clio. Most people read that and pronounce it “clee-o,” but most people are wrong. It’s pronounced with a long “i”. Cly-o. When I tell people that, they often scoff. I have never understood why. I guess when a town’s name is pronounced differently than you might expect, it gives the impression that the town was named by amateurs. When people laugh at my hometown’s pronunciation, I always assume that they’re really thinking, “boy, your town is so full of stupid that they can’t even pronounce their own name properly.”

Clio is just like any other small town in America. Maybe slightly better because we don’t really have any strip malls. Wal-Mart moved in a few years ago, though, so I guess we’re headed in that direction.

Most of the people I know from Clio have moved elsewhere. I have moved elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with Clio … I thought it was a very nice place to grow up, albeit somewhat lacking in diversity. The main problem with Clio is that it is stuck right between Flint and Saginaw, neither of which are exactly crawling with opportunity.

My friend Jon McCarron stuck it out. Jon is a writer. He’s a good writer; my old publishing company, Contemporary Press, published two of his stories in our Danger City anthologies. We didn’t publish his stories because he was my friend, we published his stories because they were among the best from the hundreds of submissions we received.

Recently, Jon and a few friends started a free, alternative newspaper in Flint called Broadside. I have read this newspaper, and it is a really great example of the kind of community paper that we need more of in America. Plus, it is funny. They are only a few issues in, and already they’re turning a profit on ad sales. It is far more impressive than anything I have ever done, because A) people are actually reading it and B) it is actually making money. Michael Moore, you will recall, got his start as the editor of the Flint Voice, the last good alternative newspaper in Flint. So basically what I’m saying is that I know the next Michael Moore.

Yesterday, Michigan NPR did a really great piece on the paper. You can listen to the interview here or read it here. They introduce McCarron as a “computer expert,” which is pretty awesome. If I am ever interviewed for NPR, I hope they introduce me as some kind of expert. I’m pretty sure that holds as much weight as an honorary degree in most circles.

I am proud to call McCarron my friend and Awkward Press is proud to extend our very-highest, most-supportingest 6 PIZZA SEAL OF APPROVAL to Flint Broadside! And for only $20/year, you can experience the magic yourself. Do! Now!

The Awkward Movie Challenge: Zardoz

July 22, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Movie Reviews, The Awkward Movie Challenge


According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, needs this much Connery.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, needs this much Connery.


Pre-Internet, the only way to learn about cool things if you grew up in a small town in Michigan as I did was to read about them in these magical collections of information called “books” and “magazines.” When I was in high school, there were 2 books that changed my life. The first was the fourth edition of the Trouser Press Record Guide. Trouser Press was an indispensable guide to thousands of “alternative rock” records back in the days when the term alternative rock actually meant something. The second was Danny Peary’s fantastic (and sadly out of print) 3 volume Cult Movies series. Ever since I received the first book as a Christmas present, I’ve made it my ongoing life’s mission to someday see all 200 titles that Peary discusses.

The best thing I can say about Zardoz is that I am now able to scratch another film off that list. To say that Zardoz is a terrible film is like calling Hitler “eccentric.” Zardoz creates its own new category of terrible. It is breathtakingly, incomprehensibly, mind-blowingly bad in a way that must be seen to be believed, but must never, ever be seen by anyone. Mike and I took one for the team, and no matter how tantalizing it may sound after reading our reviews, I beg you: DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE. It is so terrible that its title should really stand as a universally-recognized synonym for atrociously bad. If I go to a coffee shop and tell them the ½ and ½ tastes Zardoz, they should immediately lock the place up and send every customer to the hospital. If I am at a café in France and I tell the waiter “Cet croque-monsieur est Zardoz!” he should walk straight back to the kitchen and stab the chef in the throat with an ice pick.