Hey folks, been a while since I rapped at ya.
Recently I was a guest on the Fate, Luck & Karma podcast to talk about my latest book A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever. It was fun! Groovy times! Click here to check out the episode on YouTube. It’s also on Spotify and Apple.
My thanks to Dean (the host) and the West Midland Ghostbusters for having me on. And let me again thank everyone who has been reading and talking about A Convenient Parallel Dimension. It’s tough to promote a book these days. Well, unless you’re an actor with a memoir. The last piece of literature that seized the nation was written by Matthew Perry. I’m not immune; there’s a copy in my house. My review: this guy has problems money can’t fix.
Speaking of people with serious problems, every day I wake up and the top headline is always some variation of “Can DeSantis Beat Trump?” or “Trump Voters Feeling Their Loyalty Tested By DeSantis” and just once it would be nice to see “Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump Are Both Repugnant Fascists Who Deserve Zero Support And Should Be Frog Marched Into The Nearest Black Hole.” Some other good headlines would be “Nationwide Gun Buyback Program Ahead Of Firearms Ban Sees 100% Success Rate” and “Biden Reallocates $800 Billion From Military To Jump Start Free Health Care.”
Return of The Jedi was released 40 years ago today, which reminds me that the various special editions of the three earliest Star Wars movies have now been circulating longer than the original (and currently out of print) “regular” versions ever were. I subscribe to the belief that George Lucas only started re-editing his three most beloved films in 1997 so he would no longer have to pay his ex-wife Marcia her cut of the profits. I also sort of believe the rumor that George sold Star Wars to Disney on the condition that the original cuts never again see the light of day. Thank god for the bootleggers.
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What else can I tell you? Trans rights now, trans rights forever. Season three of “Picard” is actually great (unlike the first two seasons of el stinko garbage). I’m working diligently on my next book. I saw a bluejay yesterday. Bluejays are awesome. Probably my favorite bird.
Save the environment!
News, Views, Commercials
Great news — Pathmark is offering delicious, refreshing Savarin coffee for just $2.19 a pound. Offer only good if you currently live in July of 1984.
Turning to the literary world, my book A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever received a 10 out of 10 from DIS/MEMBER. Reviewer Justin Partridge called it “a triumph” and “a towering examination of Ghostbusters from soup to nuts.” Hey, that’s some serious critical acclaim. Thanks, Justin.
A Convenient Parallel Dimension is out now where ever fine books are sold. There are also ebook and audiobook versions. And here’s an incomplete list of libraries where you can read it for free: Denver Public, Indianapolis Public, Allen Country (Indiana) Public, Cleveland Public, Los Angeles Public, New York Public, Queens Public, Newport (Oregon) Public, the Firestone Library at Princeton University, the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University, and the Library of Congress.
The ghost heads are buzzing right now because the sequel to Ghostbusters: Afterlife began filming last week. There was also some casting news, which kicked off the usual round of “that guy’s not funny” and “that guy’s too woke” and “where the hell is Rick Moranis?” I don’t care who they put in Afterlife 2 (the working title is actually Firehouse). I’m just curious to see where they go with the story. I enjoy Afterlife but it has third act problems and I have trouble imagining how they can build from that. Well, I guess that’s why I’m in the nonfiction biz.
Another thing I’m curious about with this new Ghostbusters is how many people working on it will get COVID. The virus is still everywhere, continuing to debilitate and kill thousands of people every single day. Lately there’s been an uptick in famous actors complaining about COVID restrictions on film sets. Tilda Swinton made headlines a couple weeks ago when she announced she wouldn’t be wearing a mask on the set of her next movie (even though the filmmakers asked her to). Swinton’s already had COVID and she believes she has enough antibodies and faith for protection.
I hate to rain on your parade, Tilda, but it’s pretty common knowledge at this point that antibodies created during one infection aren’t proven to shield you from future infection. Also, why aren’t you worried about protecting the other people on this film set? Especially the crew members who aren’t worth $14 million? Crew members who can’t afford to miss any work and certainly don’t want to develop COVID-related disabilities? Now they’ll feel pressured not to mask up because a dumb rich actress made a big stink about preferring to see people’s faces.
By the way, Swinton’s 2021 bout with COVID left her bedridden for weeks and by her own account she’s still struggling with brain fog. Well, I guess a functioning memory isn’t that important when you have millions of dollars.
The team behind the new Ghostbusters has been posting behind-the-scenes shots since filming started; so far, I’ve only seen one mask, worn by director Gil Kenan. With so many younger actors involved in this production, I keep thinking about how the people who make “Wednesday” had their 20 year old star Jenna Ortega perform an intense dance routine while she was sick with COVID. She woke up with obvious COVID symptoms and they had her start filming while they were waiting on the test results. Stuff like that probably happens every day.
If I was king of the world, I’d force every actor who is worth more than $10 million to put a significant chunk of their money into a collective account for below the line film set employees. Then those employees could afford to take some time off and Hollywood could stop producing content until the virus is actually under control. In the absence of Doctor Strange 14: Spider-Man’s Cousin’s Uncle’s Revenge, we the home viewers could entertain ourselves by watching old movies. Think about all the old movies you’ve never seen. Think about all the foreign movies you’ve never seen. What better time to watch Berlin Alexanderplatz than right now?
Another cool thing you could do right now is read some of my recent writing. Here’s something I wrote about the movie where Bud Cort plays Hitler’s son (it’s a comedy!). Here’s a piece I wrote about UFOria, the movie where Cindy Williams is a UFO nut. Here’s some stuff I couldn’t fit into my Ghostbusters book. Here’s a story about how I tried to write a book about Dead Kennedys.
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In sports news, I can’t believe the Academy Awards left Gaylord Perry out of the “in memoriam” this year.
What else can I tell ya? My stepdaughter’s really been getting into System of a Down lately. Toxicity is a great album. Their material stands the test of time, which is more than I can say for most of those goddamn Screeching Weasel records I was listening to around the turn of the century.
Ghostbusters Book Graveyard
Here’s a collection of factoids, stories, and rumors I couldn’t squeeze into A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever (on sale now where ever fine books are sold).
— Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep both attended the Yale School of Drama in the early ’70s and a blurb in Spy magazine 20 years after the fact claimed these two students had beef; an anonymous source called it “an unspoken feud” but a feud nonetheless because Streep got all the play parts over Weaver; Weaver was apparently iced out for being too tall and too weird (it is said she sewed up her own “elf costumes” to wear around campus); as another source put it, “Sigourney and Meryl have never been friends…Sigourney has always been annoyed by Meryl’s great lady act”
— between 1974 and 1979, Ghostbusters composer Elmer Bernstein had a mail order soundtrack club where he re-recorded other people’s film scores; these re-recordings included Franz Waxman’s The Silver Chalice, Alfred Newman’s Wuthering Heights, and Miklós Rózsa’s The Thief of Baghdad; Bernstein’s son Peter he told me his father lost money on this project but Elmer didn’t care because he was doing it for the love of the music; Film Score Monthly released the entirety of Bernstein’s soundtrack club recordings on CD in 2006
— Walter Peck actor William Atherton used to claim that the philosophical teachings of Aesthetic Realism “cured” him of homosexuality; Atherton performed live testimonials about it around New York City and even went on “Donahue” in 1981 to discuss the “permanent” change he and hundreds of other followers made to heterosexuality (watch the episode here); obviously this was extremely controversial and many derided Aesthetic Realism as a dangerous cult; I’ve heard that Atherton himself eventually felt hoodwinked by the whole thing and disavowed it, which I hope is true; Aesthetic Realism still exists but they stopped promoting a “cure” for being gay decades ago
— in 1983, “Tonight Show” staple David Brenner filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros, Matty Simmons, Harold Ramis, and John Hughes for stealing the idea for National Lampoon’s Vacation from a 1979 script Brenner wrote called Goodbye Grandma; Brenner claimed he submitted his script to “one or more” of the defendants beforehand and he sought nearly $40 million in damages; it’s unclear how this was resolved
— according to Ghostbusters editor Sheldon Kahn, the levitation rig used during Sigourney Weaver’s possession scene belonged to Ivan Reitman’s old pal Doug Henning; I attempted to confirm this with Henning biographer John V. Harrison (author of the awesome book Spellbound: The Wonder-filled Life of Doug Henning) but he wasn’t sure; I also e-mailed Henning’s widow Debby but she never responded
— the hare krishna acolyte seen at the end of Ghostbusters is a guy named Stephen Friedland who had a recording career in the 1960s under the name Brute Force; no less than George Harrison was a fan of Brute and tried to get his quasi-obscene novelty ballad “King of Fuh” out on Capital Records and EMI; when those labels blanched, the Beatles pressed up 2,000 copies of “King of Fuh” on their own label Apple; it is apparently the rarest Apple release in existence
— because every aspect of his life was covered by the press, I can tell you Michael Jackson saw Ghostbusters on July 5th, 1984 with his brothers in Kansas City; the Jacksons were in town to play the first three shows of their Victory Tour at Arrowhead Stadium; considering how much acrimony erupted between the Jacksons during this tour, it’s possible Ghostbusters was the last non-contractual outing they all enjoyed together
— Tracey Ullman was complaining about the scripts she was being offered during a 1985 interview with The Toronto Star when she went on a rant about Ghostbusters, calling it “childish” and “rubbish” and a “who’s got the biggest willie” movie; this culminated in Ullman saying that Harold Ramis was “as funny as anthrax”; in all my years of research, this was the meanest thing I ever saw anyone say about Ramis; comedy is subjective, of course, and I don’t find Tracey Ullman very funny (I like her singing though)
— Mel Brooks asked Ray Parker, Jr. to write some music for Spaceballs but Parker turned Brooks down because he was, and I quote, “too busy fooling around, doing something, chasing girls or waterskiing”; yes, he regrets this
— if you’ve seen the 1988 film Storm Warriors starring Mark Keyloun, Marlise Richards, and Gozer herself Slavitza Jovan, consider yourself lucky because it was never released; in fact, Storm Warriors was axed shortly after the trailer debuted at Cannes; the ad they ran in Variety for the film has me intrigued so let’s hope an unearthing occurs soon
— Ivan Reitman said once or twice that Julia Roberts auditioned for Ghostbusters II when it appeared Sigourney Weaver wouldn’t be coming back; Roberts was 21 at the time, so as a love interest for Bill Murray that was probably a little too Blame it on Rio
— in 1990, Dan Aykroyd had a project with Al Franken and Tom Davis called “Nixon in The Navy,” a five part comedy series about Richard Nixon’s military service; he imagined they’d put it on basic cable
— I wanted to interview the women who wrote the 1995 movie Casper for my book because I had questions about Dan Aykroyd’s cameo as Ray Stantz; they said no, we have nothing to say, it’s just a silly joke people blow out of proportion; that’s not a direct quote because they asked not to be quoted
— Ghostbusters: The Video Game mastermind John Melchior told me a little bit about working on Simpsons: Hit & Run, specifically that Hank Azaria was the easiest “Simpsons” actor to work with and that Harry Shearer threw a fit and walked out mere seconds into his first recording session when he saw a grammatical error in the script
My UK Media Blitz
Never mind the bollocks! I’ve appeared on two UK-based podcasts as of late to promote A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever. There’s a video component to both programs and that split screen technology really makes me feel like Bernard Shaw. On Ghostheads UK, I had a wonderful conversation with host Jamie Burns (and he hadn’t even finished the book yet!).
I had another wonderful conversation with Ben Veal on Good Journeys, a podcast of “inspiring stories” and “inspiring people.” I’ll try not to let that go to my head. Ben admitted he was jealous of the replica Vigo painting in my living room. Unfortunately I couldn’t put it behind me during the podcast recording in my bedroom because that thing is bolted to the wall.
Thanks again to all the UK Ghostbusters fans for taking the time to check out my book. I really appreciate it! By the way, my wife and I have been watching the old “Lovejoy” show with Ian McShane and it’s the perfect tonic for these troubled times. That Charlie Gimbert is such a scoundrel!
A Convenient Parallel Dimension To Be Released Down Under
Get ready, Australia and New Zealand — on February 1st, A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever will be released in your beautiful countries. I’m very excited for all the ghost heads Down Under to check it out! It looks like you’ll be able to get it from Woodslane, Dymocks, Booktopia, and Amazon Australia.
A few of these places say they already have the book or it’s already been released in that neck of the woods, but I think their computers automatically pull data from somewhere else and no one double checks it. Although, there were quite a few customers here in the States who received books ahead of time. I guess the only way to know for sure is to place an order.
Oh, by the way, the audiobook of A Convenient Parallel Dimension is now available on Spotify and Audible. Just in case you’re brand loyal and can’t bear to hear it through Google Play or Apple Books.
Stay tuned for more news about the book that left Neon Splatter’s Khayla McGowan “thoroughly impressed!”
A Convenient Parallel Dimension Sold Out In The UK Already
My new book A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever was only released in the UK eleven days ago but already it’s sold out. It may have actually sold out well before the release date, as I’ve heard from people who preordered months ago and still haven’t received their copy. What can I say but thanks, UK! More books will wash up on your shores next month. I’m sorry they can’t get there sooner. Apparently the publisher sends them on a boat. Too heavy for a plane, I guess. At any rate, I appreciate your patience and hope it’s worth whatever wait you must endure.
Would you like to hear me talk about A Convenient Parallel Dimension on yet another podcast? You’re in luck. I was recently a guest on the Ghostbusters fandom podcast Extraplasm. Click here to listen to my chat with show host Jim Maritato. We chop it up about all sorts of stuff. And unless he cut it out, you can hear me rant about how John Landis should be in prison.
In a related story, I wasn’t expecting a single mention of Ghostbusters when I started Punk Paradox, the memoir by Bad Religion singer Greg Graffin, but that’s my fault for not remembering Bad Religion’s emblem (a black cross in a red circle with a slash through it). Graffin spends a few pages in the book discussing the creation of that emblem in 1980 and how prevalent the red negation symbol became thanks in part to Ghostbusters.
“It’s likely that our fortuitous association with this friendly red circle backslash helped to pave the way for our band’s logo over the years,” he surmises. “In America at least, I’m sure that the Ghostbusters symbol and the ‘No Parking’ graphic image helped to diffuse any possible antagonism from religious groups. We were never antagonizers — we were simply the antithesis of the symbol we were slashing: you won’t find religion in this house.”
I’m halfway through Punk Paradox and it’s tough to put down. I’ve been into Bad Religion since I was a teenager in the Freaking 1990s but I never took the time to learn very much about their history as underdogs in an underdog genre. I always assumed Graffin was more or less a good egg — thoughtful, principled, compassionate. His book confirms that. And he calls out bullshit when he sees it. Case in point: he really tears into Youth Brigade for all the baloney they put in their famous documentary Another State of Mind.
Another cool memoir I read recently is Bob Odenkirk’s Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama. Nothing about Ghostbusters in there that I can remember but plenty about how miserable he was writing for “Saturday Night Live.” Has anyone ever had a good time working on “SNL?” Anyone besides Kenan Thompson and Don Pardo?
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A Convenient Parallel Dimension Is Out Now In The UK
This week A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever was released across the pond so I hope all the UK ghost heads are ready to check it out. Blackwell’s and Waterstones are just two of the fine UK retailers who carry the book. My apologies to anyone who preordered it from Amazon UK; for some reason, they are sticking to a release date of February 17th. Strike four thousand against the Jeff Bezos website.
Let me also remind you that the audiobook of Parallel Dimension as read by Tim Dixon is available via Google Play and Apple Books. Tim did such an amazing job and working with him was very cool. Thanks again, Tim!
So it looks like they’re gonna start filming another Ghostbusters movie pretty soon. This time I hope they bring back Janosz!
Billionaires Should Not Exist
Bloody Disgusting has published a very flattering review of my new book A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever. Ike Oden writes that ACPD is “the definitive, unexpurgated story of the beloved film franchise and its central players. Finally, ghostheads have their own gospel, a Tobin’s Spirit Guide of thoroughly researched and thoughtfully disseminated Ghostbusters history.”
Oden sums up the book as “an addictively written, utterly engrossing read, and an absolute must-have stocking stuffer for fans this holiday season.” Thanks! Although I don’t think the book will fit in a stocking. Maybe you should wrap it up with a nice ribbon.
Remember, if you buy A Convenient Parallel Dimension directly from the publisher right now you can save 35% off with the code 22JOYSALE. This is a cool deal. It saves you some money and ensures that absolutely no money goes to Jeff Bezos. Sale ends on January 6th, 2023.
Speaking of odious billionaire scum, Elon Musk was making it feel extremely gross to remain on Twitter so I deactivated my account. It’s a bummer. For all its pre-Elon problems, Twitter was tough to beat as a news aggregate. There were tons of people on there who clued me in on social issues that never got amplification anywhere else. It was an awesome comedy aggregate too. The hardest laughs in the past decade came from anonymous weirdos tweeting like they had nothing to lose. Most importantly, I met my wife on Twitter.
So Twitter was a valuable resource in those respects and it sucks that the world’s richest edgelord is tanking it because all his kids hate him and his all his ex-wives hate him and everyone sensible person in the world hates him because he’s perpetually full of shit and his cars keep murdering people. Just another reason this country needs a maximum wage. No one should be able to spend $44 billion on a utility just so they can treat it like a pile of Legos. Billionaires should not exist!
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Enjoy your holiday season and remember, the pandemic is not over. Please keep masking and avoiding large crowds. Let’s make 2023 the safest year yet. I mean, as safe as we can be in a country with no gun control.
A Convenient Parallel Dimension Audiobook Plus Other News
The audiobook of A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever has been released! It’s available via Google Play (click here) and Apple Books (click here). Twelve engrossing hours narrated by the incredible Tim Dixon. What better way to drown out the ills of the world?
Of course you can still buy the silent, three dimensional version of ACPD and if you buy it directly from the publisher right now they’ll take 35% off the price with the code 22JOYSALE. Wow, not a bad deal. Click clicky!
The best deal of all is free, so ask your local library to get a few copies of A Convenient Parallel Dimension if they haven’t already. Support your local library! Support all libraries! They are vital to functioning communities!
Still on the fence about reading this book? Consider these critical appraisals. “A deeper dive into Ghostbusters than anything before,” says Chris Stewart, founder of long-running Ghostbusters news source Proton Charging. “I love this book like Winston loved New York!” raves Book Bits emcee Dave Kirby. Noted Ghostbusters fan / historian Alex Newborn also posted a very positive video review on his YouTube channel.
I’ve been on two podcasts to talk about ACPD — Episode 253 of People Are The Enemy and Episode 149 of The Hungry Trilobyte Podcast. Big thanks to Andy Mascola and Aaron Bossig, the respective hosts of these shows. Both are awesome dudes.
Well, that’s the update for now. Thanks to everyone for your interest. I hope bustin’ always makes you feel good.
It’s Slime Time, Baby
Why did Yaphet Kotto turn down a role in the original Ghostbusters? What was Slavitza Jovan doing before she was Gozer? Was there a fistfight on the set of Ghostbusters II? What was it like making the 2016 reboot? What’s the deal with that “Ghostbusters go to Hell” script? All these questions and many more are answered in A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever, the most thorough and detailed book ever written about this famous film franchise. Written by me, Jim Greene!
The official release date for A Convenient Parallel Dimension is 11/1/22 but tale is told that people are beginning to receive preordered copies right now. Not sure what the story is there but I can tell you if you buy this book directly from the publisher at Rowman.com instead of Amazon I make more money. So take that into consideration when making your purchase. Of course, it’s not about the lettuce. Ask your local library to get some copies so people can read this incredible history for free.
Early reviews have been flattering. Noted Ghostbusters fan / historian Alex Newborn offered a very positive video critique of the book. Proton Charging, one of the longest running Ghostbusters news aggregates around, made me blush when they compared my work to the Webb Telescope. Keep the praise rolling in, folks. I actually love compliments.
Not sure what else to say right now other than thank you to everyone who’s been supporting A Convenient Parallel Dimension. I’ve never worked this hard on anything and I can’t wait for all the ghost heads to read it.