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Thomas Wictor

Archive for December, 2013

The worst year of my life

This was the worst year of my life. For over a decade, Tim and I would say to each other, “This was the worst year yet,” but 2013 was the absolute bottom. I say than knowing full well that I’m daring the fates to make 2014 even worse, but it can’t be. The depths have…


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I used to be a journalist

I was a history major, and I used to be a journalist. When I wrote about musicians, I never had preconceived ideas about the story I’d produce. It was entirely up to the interviewee. In my military-history books, I go only where the facts take me. So I get angry when I see “respected journalists”…


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Why we had to kill Charles Darwin

I’ve had unbelievably strange dreams. Volume Three of the Ghosts Trilogy—Hallucinabulia: the Dream Diary of an Unintended Solitarian—will be available next month, I think. It’ll show you the mess inside my head. As I say in my sales pitch, Volume One is how my life was, Volume Two is how I wish it had been,…


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I AM sorry but go away

August 20, 2012, was not a good day. I learned that someone was not at all who I thought. It was genuinely horrifying because I discovered that I’d been dealing with an insane person. She’d hid her insanity relatively well, but as always, I denied the little signs that things were awry. In August of…


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Broken arms and exploding piglets

I broke my right arm in 1971. Mom and my siblings were watching an oil well being drilled at night in the vacant lot two houses down in Campo Verde, Tia Juana, Venezuela. The Club is in the foreground; right above the words “photo courtesy,” you can see the giant swimming pool where a nineteen-year-old…


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Thirty-three years and counting

My friend Joe Cady dropped in for a visit today. In Ghosts and Ballyhoo, he’s The Punk Who Set Me on My Course (pages 17 to 20). Unfortunately, I’d set my camera to take time exposures or something, so all the images of Joe in Tim’s house came out blurry and yellow. Here’s the best…


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But MY books are rejected

I just read the silliest article. “What if the Germans had won the First World War?” by Martin Kettle. Who’s Martin Kettle? Why, the son of two prominent communist activists! No idea if that has anything to do with his thinking. Wealthy people who call themselves communists are by definition silly, so it makes sense…


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The Golden Age of Duh

In some ways it’s a scary time to be alive. A huge number of people will believe whatever you tell them, as long as it fits in with their preconceived notions. Yesterday Said Tayeb Jawad, the Afghan ambassador to the US from 2003 to 2010 and current Diplomat in Residence at Johns Hopkins University, tweeted…


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A gift from the boogeyman

One of the scariest people I ever knew was a man I’ll call “Miguel,” who lived across the street from us. He was a former gang member who looked and sounded exactly like the actor Danny Trejo. Miguel was married and had three children. He was a mechanic and truck driver, and he suffered from…


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The first Christmas without Mom and Dad

This is the first Christmas without Mom and Dad. What I feel mostly is strangeness. When you get to be old yourself—I’m fifty-one—it’s incredibly bizarre to no longer have access to people who were there your whole life. Dad’s dying process was so sudden, unnecessary, and ghastly that when he finally passed away, it was…


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