Deuce of Clubs Book Club: Books of the Weak

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I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski

Guy Debord: Revolutionary

No Place to Hide

Command of Office

The Christ-Myth Theory And Its Problems

The Christian Delusion

Lincoln's Wrath

How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself

The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex


Zombie Spaceship Wasteland

Catching the Big Fish

Dig Infinity

The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones

Crazy for God

Basin and Range

Anarchy Evolution

The File

John Ringo

The Supremes

End the Fed

Burning Book

The Hohokam Millenium

God's Middle Finger


In Heaven Everything Is Fine

The Shunning

Wisdom Sits in Places

The Marvelous Country

Hamilton's Curse

The Secret Life of Houdini

The Trouble with Being Born

Schulz and Peanuts

First Into Nagasaki

Joe Miller's Jests

Human Smoke

Dirty Tricks Cops Use

A Futile and Stupid Gesture

All For A Few Perfect Waves


Death in the Desert

American Signs

Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention

Secrets Of A Stingy Scoundrel

The Self-Made Tapestry

A Constitutional History of Secession

The Neurotic's Notebook

Interrogation Machine

Monster Midway

The Harlot by the Side of the Road

Forced Into Glory

Imperial Life in the Emerald City

J. G. Ballard: Quotes

The Compleat Practical Joker

Laugh with Hugh Troy


A Liar's Autobiography


Chasing Rainbows

Letters from Tucson, 1925-1927

The Five Fosters

The Giant Cactus Forest and Its World

How to Cheat Your Friends at Poker

World Famous Cults & Fanatics

That's Not All, Folks!

God's Problem

Will Christ Return By 1988?

Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology

The Whiskey Rebellion

FDR's Folly

Wilson's War

Bully Boy

[If] I Did It

The Dark Side

Secret Origins of the Bible


The End of Faith

Why I Became An Atheist

"Life's Calendar for 1922"

Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War

The Negro Cowboys


Monty Python Speaks

Baseball Between the Numbers

The Psychopath's Bible


J. G. Ballard: Conversations

Days of War, Nights of Love

Gospel Fictions and Who Wrote the Gospels?

The Real Deadwood


The Revolution: A Manifesto


The Secret Man

Stormin' Mormon

From Psyche to Soma

I'll Gather My Geese

The Osama bin Laden I Know

Alias "Paine"

A Man Without Words

The Wild Trees

The World Without Us

Arizona's Changing Rivers

The Phoenix Indian School

Realm of the Long Eyes

John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America's First Celebrity Criminal

Buckey O'Neill: The Story of a Rough Rider

Thanks For Tuning In

Adventures in the Apache Country

Waylon: An Autobiography

My Life: Sunrise to Sunset

Mimes and Miners: A Historical Study of the Theater in Tombstone

The First 100 Years: A History of Arizona Blacks

Enter Without Knocking

City in the Sun: The Japanese Concentration Camp at Poston, Arizona

House by the Buckeye Road

Vanished Arizona

The Big Con

The Astronomy Cafe and Back to the Astronomy Cafe

A Handbook on Hanging

The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right

A Mind Restored

Mr. Show: What Happened?!

Reclaiming the American Revolution

Stumbling On Happiness

Treasure Maps of the Superstitions

Sunny Slope

Did Genesis Man Conquer Space?

Look Homeward, America

Radicals for Capitalism

Kayaker's Little Book of Wisdom

God Is Not Great

The Echoing Green

The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll

K Foundation Burn a Million Quid

The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes and The Tao of Willie

Just Six Numbers and Our Cosmic Habitat

Wild Goose Chronicles

Behind Bars: Surviving Prison

Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce

The Gang They Couldn't Catch


A History of the End of the World

Al Sieber: Chief of Scouts

Apaches & Longhorns

Deep Survival




Bo: Pitching & Wooing

You Are Worthless

You And Your Hand

Access All Areas

Field Guide to the Apocalypse

The War on Terrorism

Those Idiots From Earth

September 11: An Oral History

Mortal Questions

The Heresy of Self-Love

The White Flag Principle

Medieval Panorama

An Honest President

Those Words

À rebours

Peterson's Incident Report Book

Boo! Culture, Experience, and the Startle Reflex

Victory Denied

Nothing, Arizona

A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion

O Holy Cow!: The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto


¿Hablas conmigo

Thirty-three Candles

Black Monk Time

Men of Distinction

Alexander the Corrector

Space Viking

Mark These Men

Hallucinogenic Plants

Prohibition: An Adventure in Freedom

JESUS! He's Our President


How to Watch Football on Television

Merrill Markoe's Guide to Love

Lincoln: The Man and The Car

Whatever Men Know About Women

Biographies of Italian War Heroes

ABC of Espionage

Art Colony Perverts


Starting Right with Bees

Planet Earth is a Cult

Baseball Letters


Dopey Doings

Democracy: The God That Failed

Handgrenade Talk

Hi, How Are You?

het zingen van het ijs

The Museum of Jurassic Technology Jubilee Catalogue

The Rector and the Rogue

Colorful Cacti of the American Deserts

Odd Jobs: The World of Deviant Work

The Hungry Man's Outdoor Grill Cookbook

How to Get Invited to the White House

How to Work for a Jerk

Never Work for a Jerk!

The Mentality of Apes

Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me

Dr. Strange: Sorceror Supreme

Nautical Notions for Nibbling

A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity

The Fake Revolt

Coup D'Etat

History of the Town of Felicity

Hood of Death

Dolls' House Bathrooms: Lots of Little Loos

Border Security / Anti-Infiltration Operations

Living on Light

God is for Real, Man

Did the Apostle Paul Visit Britain?

Twin Peaks


Power Phrases

The Truth About Wagner

The Life of the Bee


Science Looks at Smoking

The Chiricahuas

The New Dark Ages Conspiracy

The Big Question

Everybody's Book of Epitaphs

The Death of the Fuhrer


Gorbachev! Has the Real Antichrist Come?

The World's Worst Poet

Alyssa Milano: She's the Boss

Home is the Desert

Nine Lives: From Stripper to Schoolteacher

How to Start Your Own Country

How to Found Your Own Religion

Sex Objects in the Sky

Indian Oratory

Bastard Without Portfolio

The Bedside Book of Bastards

Hopeless -- Yet There Is Hope

Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand

Margie Asks WHY

Death of a Hippie

Wake Up or Blow Up

Feeling and Form


A Mile in His Moccasins

Mojave Desert Ramblings

Passing of the Outhouse

This Way to Happiness

The Happy Life

Young Only Once

The Monkey Gland Affair

Bert Bacharach's Book for Men

The Two Babylons

For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes...

Why Christians Crack Up!

Why Do Christians Break Down?

Hava Nagila!

Beethoven or Bust

How to Abandon Ship

Livin' in Joe's World

The Last Democrat

Salvation Mountain

The Varmint and Crow Hunter's Bible

Love in the Western World

Jack the Ripper: Light-Hearted Friend

Little Men of the NFL

No One May Ever Have The Same Knowledge Again

The Secret Museum of Mankind

James Bond's World of Values

We Did Not Plummet Into Space

The Boy Who Didn't Believe IN CHRISTMAS

The Great Escape From Your Dead-End Job

All About Tipping

My Loser Godfrey

A Haircut in Horse Town

Mucusless Diet Healing System

Jefferson Returns

Lincoln Returns

Churchill Returns

Corporation Freak

Null Bock auf DDR

So You're Going on a Mission?

Nudes in My Camera

Why I Hate the Nazis

Flesh, Metal & Glass

The James Beard Cookbook

Mortal Refrains


Amy Grant: A Biography

The X Cars

We Were Five

Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder

Hello ... Wrong Number

I'll Kill You Next!

Murder in Vegas

Did MAN Just Happen?

Terror at the Atlanta Olympics

Criswell Predicts

Your Next Ten Years

They Pay Me to Catch Footballs

The Phantom Menace

Just For Fellows

The Lopsided Gal

Astrology and Horse Racing

The Cokesbury Stunt Book

The Origin of Things

Remarks on the History of Things

U.S. Government Sewing Book

Funeral Tributes II

Blinky, the Friendly Hen

The Serbs Choose War

My Mystery Castle


Funeral Customs the World Over

The Right to be Let Alone

Mormonism and the Negro

The Church and the Negro

Preacher with a Billy Club

Fighting Parson of the Old West

Invisibility: Mastering the Art of Vanishing

How to Disappear Completely

The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

How to Catch a Man, How to Keep a Man, How to Get Rid of a Man

Langenscheidts Konversationsbuch

Marlene Dietrich's ABC

The Bible in the Hands of Its Creators

Secrets Of A Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money-Grubbing Secrets

Phil Villarreal (2009)


On Twitter the day before yesterday, Phil Villarreal (whom you may remember from Stormin' Mormon) quoted a bookstore representative regarding his appearance that evening to read from and sign his new book, Secrets Of A Stingy Scoundrel: "We've gotten a lot of calls on your event after the Republic article. One lady came in and threatened to picket the event."

I didn't think it was for real until I pulled up at the bookstore and saw four women carrying signs. Even then, I thought it might be a publicity stunt perpetrated by Phil.

Well, no:

The four women picketing outside the bookstore had seen Phil interviewed about his book on KTVK-TV and in the paper. They were carrying home made, double-sided signs:

—Illegal, Immoral, & Insane
—Would you give your kids this advice [frowny face]
—This book is offensive! Not funny!
—Do you cheat your country and the IRS?
PHIL is Gross, MEAN AND just plain wrong!!
—Greedy, Cheap and NO Morals!!
—Phil—Have you NO Conscious? [sic]
—WHAT Goes around.... comes around

Even though their signs had exactly the look I would be going for if I were staging a fake protest to get publicity for my book (right down to the frowny face and comical misuse of the language and its punctuation), it was obvious from their actual frowny faces that these were genuinely pissed-off folks. They were wary when I approached but, as I've always said, you can get away with almost anything as long as you have a black bag and a purposeful step. When I pulled out my digital recorder to talk with them for a few minutes and snap some photos, they didn't even ask who I was or who I was with (though the answer would have been—and always is—"Barth Gimble, Fernwood 2 Night, howyadoin?")

The four women told me they'd all worked together as servers. So what's their beef with the book? Well, they all admitted right up front—CAREFUL, THIS WILL SHOCK YOU—that they hadn't read the book. (A bookstore employee later mentioned that one or more of the ladies had been in the store the previous day. Research!) But that didn't stop the beefs, which they spat out pretty much all at the same time:

"He teaches kids how to save money by stealing and cheating the system."
"It's immoral. It's unethical."
"Don't tip servers."
"Don't tip a lady unless she's pretty and you know you're gonna get laid that night."
"If you go to a bar, sign the tab and then put it where it's wet, so it takes the signature off and you can just beat the charges. And that seems funny, but when children read it, they're thinking, `Oh, yeah, I can do that!' He's teaching the next generation of kids how to cheat, and make money out of cheating!"

The next move was to ask them how it's Phil Villarreal's fault if children are in a bar in the first place, but these crusaders clearly weren't in a mood to joke, even though they had to have seen the sign advertising Phil's in-store appearance, which clearly read:"Tongue-in-cheek parody of self-help money books, a money-saving riot!" So I had to ask, just to be sure:

You do know it's a humor book . . . right?

This made them suspicious again, and they accused me of being a friend of Phil's. Now, I have known him for a while, but only via email, and was therefore able to answer in all truthfulness: "I've never met the man."

That reassured them, and three out of four of the women admitted that they understood that the author's intent was to be humorous. "But it's not humor!" "It's NOT FUNNY!"

But you realize it's supposed to be, right?

"It's supposed to be. It's not funny."
"He's DONE that, and that is him! Everything that he put in the book is what he's done."

He said that?

"Yes. He tried to deny it for a second. But—" [Here she paused to yell at a customer going into the store: "Don't buy the book, honey!" (Customer: "I'm not!")] Then all four went back to the talking points, speaking as if with one voice (only the kind of one voice that can shout different things, all at the same time):

"It's just not funny. It's not humorous to say, `Don't tip a waitress unless you're gonna get laid tonight! That's not funny! It's offensive!"
"He says if we don't like the job and we don't get tips then we need to get out of the business."
"If it wasn't for the service people, our country would not be running today! We're really upset about this!"

I can tell. Did Phil talk to you?

"He was cordial."
"Very smug."
"He was very nice. He was saying, `Well, I agree with you.' Well, if you agree with us, then you would never have written the book!"
"He's got two kids! What if his kids grow up and read this crap that he's publicizing? It's not right!"
"Teaching his kids to be immoral, to cheat the system. It's just not right!"



(Above) Phil Villarreal, positively basking in the glow of Wagner. (That protest sign was right: clearly, this man has no Conscious.)

Have you been protested anywhere else?

Never, man. They wrote me an email saying someone threatened to protest. I thought, no way will someone actually come all the way out here. But, sure enough, she came—and she brought her friends with her.

They're very angry. But they admit they haven't read it.

Here's the thing, though: they know things that are in the book. I don't know where they'd have heard of it otherwise. So maybe they've at least come in and looked at it.

[Bookstore employee:] One of the women came in the store yesterday. She might even have bought the book.

Reconnaissance! You have to admire that.

I asked them to come in, and they didn't want to.

[Bookstore employee:] They can't picket in here.

No, I was hoping they'd put their signs down and sit there and ask me their questions, but they didn't want to.

One of them—the leader, I guess—her voice is shaking. She's pissed.

They were telling me that I'm teaching their children. I'm like, are your children really gonna read this book? How are your children going to get this book?

You know, I thought maybe you had set this up. Especially because you knew about it in advance.

It'd be a good idea.

Do you like doing this? The readings, I mean.

I don't know—this is my first one! Tomorrow I have one in Tucson. Next month in Flagstaff.

You should tell the protestors about them. Maybe they'd show up. Maybe they have a union.

They don't want to talk to me. They don't want to play any of my games.

One said you were "smug."

I'm honestly glad they came. It's such an honor. And at least two people came in because of the protestors.




Buy this book


You can also read Phil's writing at The Consumerist (where he is a contributing editor) and BECAUSEITOLDYOUSO, among other places.

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