The Symptoms

Illustrated Tantrums by Ashley Holt

Ashley Holt

Ashley Holt
December 04
Ashley Holt is an illustrator and opinionated crank living in the bygone century known as South Carolina. His wide variety of neurotic quirks and extreme sensitivity to broad social trends are chronicled as The Symptoms, an illustrated blog of sophisticated tantrums. Ashley's work has appeared in many defunct publications and hard-to-sell books. He is considered a complete failure by those envious of his genius. He has a website for some reason:


Ashley Holt's Links

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 14, 2012 3:33PM

A History of Violence


I think it’s clear to anyone who has beaten me senseless with a crowbar without fear of retribution that I am not a violent person. While others were studying the physical arts of ju-jitsu or boxing in their youth, I busied myself perfecting the sort of intellectual wit that encou… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 25, 2012 12:04PM

The Mouth Shall Rise Again


You might not know it from the top hat and monocle I wear to the opera these days, but I was born a hillbilly. I was a redneck trailer park child, raised amid the pluff mud and pork rinds of the South Carolina Low Country. I ate grits with every… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 4, 2012 3:02PM

Physician, Keel Thyself

The Death of Dr. Rivers 

There’s something vindicating about outliving your doctor. It gives you pause, certainly, to consider the fragility of life, as someone’s death always does. But in a perverse way, when the person advising you on your health keels over from a big, greasy heart attack, it mea… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
MARCH 19, 2012 10:33PM

Health and Swellness: Coping with a World of Extroverts

Little Miss Sunshine 

It’s bad enough the women featured in all those health and fitness magazines are completely devoid of excess fat. Bad enough they insult the average stuffed-crust American with their perfectly shaped buns and abs. And bad enough they seem to have several employment-free hours a da… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 2, 2012 1:43PM

The First Cut is the Deepest

Barber Manly 

You know the guy. Hell, you may even be the guy. He’s deeply entrenched in a mid-life crisis, radiating stress over his job and his home life. He’s buying status symbols by the truckload; a sporty new car here, a 3-D smell-o-rama flat screen there. He’s got a personal… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 16, 2011 12:34AM

The Fountain of Youth

The Hurler

Middle age has its share of embarrassments – the uncontrollable girth, the aching joints, the sudden tendency to crank up the volume when Genesis comes on the radio. Come to think of it, still having a radio at all at this stage is an embarrassing sign of aging. But we… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 14, 2011 3:34PM

Get Out of My Dreams and Into My Mylar

Geek of My Dreams 

I was browsing in the bookstore not long ago, thumbing through the various Kardashian bios that constitute our modern literary offerings, when two teenage girls came dashing around the aisle. They were adorable; rosy-cheeked, sporting sweatshirts and Converse, all wide-eyed and excited… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 6, 2011 5:14PM

The Worth of the Cool

The Nouveau Cool 

Over the years, with my kneejerk rebellion in full jerk, I’ve resisted adopting any overarching philosophy of life. I don’t think the Golden Rule applies in every situation, I don’t twelve-step my way towards anything and I don’t believe that the world is divided… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 27, 2011 3:59PM

Zen and the Art of Throwing Away Broken Junk


A few years ago, while exploring the ruins of my grandfather’s shed, I found an old wooden ladder. This was a basic, folding stepladder, covered in paint drips, that my grandfather had likely used for decades of household repair. Nothing exotic about it. But the ladder, thouRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 8, 2011 5:02PM

A Hypochondriac's Cure


Years ago, I discovered a cure for hypochondria. I’d been looking for a cure for most of my life, having suffered from perpetual, obsessive inventory of personal symptoms for decades. The mysterious, internal disease had yet to be diagnosed, but the symptoms were many, ranging fro… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 15, 2011 8:35PM

Midlife Ophiuchus


Insofar as I gave a damn about astrology, I was pretty satisfied with my designation as a Sagittarius, the sign of the lazy, philosophical dreamer who writes poems between naps. The Sagittarius follows his own interests, pursuing higher education to suit his whims,… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 29, 2010 3:58PM

Still Only 25 Cents

Bike Boy

"Happiness is the deferred fulfillment of a prehistoric wish. That is why wealth brings so little happiness: money is not an infantile wish." – Sigmund Freud

In the early Seventies, I saw a photograph of Hagar the Horrible cartoonist Dik Browne in Parade Magazine.  I knew who Dik BRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 19, 2010 1:48PM



After several decades of consistent failure, I have to conclude that I suck at Halloween. It’s embarrassing. I mean, I pride myself on being a creative type, moderately well-versed in geek culture, and I’m certainly a fan of the holiday and all its paraphernalia. But I&rsquo… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 6, 2009 4:52PM

Escape from the Planet of the Angels

Farrah Fawcett-Majors as Jill Munroe on Charlie's Angels 

Even in 1976, at the height of her stardom, it was considered trite and superficial to like Farrah Fawcett.  But everyone did, of course.  All the guys had that ubiquitous poster, all the girls were blow-drying their hair to Farrahesque perfection.  And how cold-hearted w… Read full post »