books

Forthcoming titles include a study of the sitcom Community and contributions to a multi-volume encyclopedia of rock and roll. Ghostwritten projects remain, of course, anonymous.

What Would Keanu Do? Personal Philosophy and Awe-Inspiring Wisdom from the Patron Saint of Whoa (2020) examines everyday challenges faced by readers and helps solve those same problems by applying the philosophical lessons espoused by Keanu Reeves (or one of his films). As noted in the immortal lyrics of Kansas – and dramatically delivered by one Ted “Theodore” Logan – “All we are is dust in the wind.”


Every four years, candidates make their case to the American people about why they are the best choice for president. Sometimes voters want reassurance. Sometimes they want change. And every so often the Electoral College takes the choice away from voters entirely. The ten elections discussed in The Ballot Box (2020) each represent not only large gambles by millions of people on the future of the republic, but also intense political combat over often radically divergent beliefs about how to keep America intact for the future.


Monty Python FAQ (2017; cowritten with Brian Cogan and Jeff Massey) is the only 127% unauthorized guide to the greatest comedy troupe all of time introduces the Monty Python lads to what is doubtlessly an astute and discerning global audience! Includes erudite analysis, allusions to canonical classics, killer rabbits, and candid commentary … nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what we mean?


The Handy New York City Answer Book (2017) explores the fascinating history, people, myths, culture, and trivia about the the self-proclaimed capital of the world. Illustrating the unique character of the city through a combination of facts, stats, and history, plus the unusual and quirky, it answers more than 850 intriguing questions about people, events, government, and places of interest.


The Sci-Fi Movie Guide: The Universe of Film from ‘Alien’ to ‘Zardoz’ (2014) covers the broad and widening range of science-fiction movies. From the trashy to the epic, from the classics to today’s blockbusters, this cinefile’s guidebook reviews nearly 1,000 of the biggest, baddest, and brightest examples of every age and genre of cinematic and TV science fiction.


I published four of these extremely opinionated guides to what I thought were the 25 best and 5 worst movies of that year:

Eyes Wide Open 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.


What if you could watch a movie a day for a whole year? Filmology: A Movie-a-Day Guide to a Complete Film Education (2010) answers that question by collecting cinema’s lesser-seen gems alongside blockbusters, great early works from the pioneers of moviemaking alongside often-overlooked works from great directors.


Where New York City: Eat! is a restaurant guide from 2008 which may still be of culinary anthropological interest, if copies can be found.



AS CONTRIBUTOR

I was one of the writers and editors who helped shape this collection of stories from National Geographic. Ranging from the Dead Sea Scrolls to the fabulous “Lost City of the Monkey God,” Lost Cities Ancient Tombs (2021) tells incredible stories of how explorers and archaeologists have uncovered the clues that illuminate our past.


My short story “The Pillow Box” is included in St. Louis Noir (2016), an anthology of site-specific mystery and suspense stories.


Punk Rock Warlord: The Life and Work of Joe Strummer (2014) includes my chapter “Mystery Train: Joe Strummer on the Screen”.