Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Lookist at Berg Gasse 19

My short story "The Lookist" now appears on the Freud-influenced web journal Berg Gasse 19. It is a story of the evils, and the fun, of lookism.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Obsessed with elimae

As part of my continuing obsession with how ridiculous the writing is on the "electronic literary magazine" elimae, I've written a couple of parodies of things that appeared in elimae in 2009 that were written by former elimae editor Kim Chinquee. I need to stop this before I go insane.

To the Moon: A Parody

They were sipping Capri Suns. She took a hit of Ecstasy and wondered why. Why won’t the straw just go in? She grabbed her bags. He made her carry them all the way to the lobby, then the room, telling the bellhop to piss off, she was a big girl.

She put on her makeup using a Sharpee he had taped up and written “Revlon” on. All the mirrors in the room were broken and her wig was on backwards. He was jumping on the bed and shouting Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Stop, she said. He threw a Gideon Bible at her. Hit her square on the head. She took off her clothes and lay on the bed. He wouldn’t stop jumping. He stepped on her face. Then he whispered something about throwing her from the fifth story balcony and making it look like an accident.

In the Drawer: Another Parody

The hotel clerk told her it looked serious, and gave her the card key. He didn’t tell her where her room was because he could tell she doesn’t listen. She didn’t say anything. Did she have to? Torn clothes, bloody lip, two black eyes. Her baby was asleep in a Snuggie.

The room felt like taxation without representation, a ten-key punch into dreamland. She placed her baby in a drawer on top of a Bible, drew a bath, deep, and cannonballed into the tub. She shut her eyes and felt footsteps on the bathroom floor. When she opened her eyes there was her baby. He was holding the Bible, pointing at her and screaming, “Sinner.”

Bean Bag

“His math skills,” the teacher said, “are like delicious chicken bones.”

The mother said she didn’t know what that meant, but that she grew up in the forest counting bows and arrows and squirrel nuts.

“I’d like to know more about your son,” the teacher said. She sat there cutting herself. The teacher had a pentagram tattooed on his forehead.

“We’re gypsies,” she said. “We’ve been all over. We’ll probably move again this weekend, out of the country.”

The woman recalled when her son was eighteen, learning his multiplication tables while running villagers around in a rickshaw. A man asked him where he came from. “Mars,” her son said. “Mars!” he repeated, and kicked the man in the testicles.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Gingerbread Gang" by Michael Frissore

Get loose in the Holiday spirit with a new online chapbook from Silkworms Ink called "The Gingerbread Gang" by Michael Frissore.

Warning! That Chloe story gets a bit saucy!


1. The Gingerbread Gang
2. Margaret Explodes
3. Those Who Can’t
4. Super Jessie
5. Walking Max
6. Chloe is Truly Outrageous

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Beverly Fictions

New story called The Beverly Fictions on Untoward Magazine.

Read at your own risk. This is a weird one.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Everyone's a Comedian: My Not Brief Enough Foray Into Stand-Up

It was the summer of love, 1995. My band, The Poor Boys of Rock, was opening for a Pearl Jam tribute band called Itchy Fish. The venue, a bar in Medway, Massachusetts, was packed and had been applauding for us throughout our set. That was until it was my turn to sing. It was the only song in the set on which the rest of the band were stupid enough to let me sing lead vocals. I had proposed adding Hootie and the Blowfish's smash hit "Hold My Hand" to our set list. It's a simple song, consisting of merely three chords. So I thought it would be perfect for us. I sang my heart out on this little ditty, sounding as much like Hootie as possible, and when the last chord was played, when the song was over - there was just silence. Nothing. Not even a smattering of applause. I honestly think I heard crickets. It was one of the most amazing and offensive things I have ever experienced. I've seen awful bands before and applauded out of courtesy at least. I don't know if the song sucked, or if I just sucked, or if they didn't enjoy my Darius Rucker impression. I mean, a bunch of alt-rock Pearl Jam fans probably don't want to hear an H&TB song anyway. Whatever the explanation, I wanted to die, perhaps even kill myself right there on the stage, like GG Allin always promised to do. I was scarred, perhaps for life, that day. For years afterwards, this moment would stand as the symbol of my pathetic reach for pseudo-rock stardom. I could have sang a neo-Nazi anthem or one of the racist Johnny Rebel tunes from the 60s and received a better response than what I got that night. I vowed never to perform again. Actually, that's not true. I would perform as part of a cleverly named power trio "Sexx" just two years later, our only performance resulting in those in attendance actually shouting for us to stop playing. Because, like any performer, be it a tap dancer, a puppeteer, or a mime, I was born to perform. But this scene - the thunderous guitars, the stacks of speakers, the banging of the drums - through the years, was getting old. Perhaps there were better forms of entertainment out there for me.

Ever since I can remember, comedians have been my rock stars. Sure, I worshipped many of the 80s glam metal bands
when I was a teen, and tried in vain to grow my hair and have girls worship me. But it was stand-ups who had the true stage talent. Just a man or woman and a microphone. Maybe it was because it was something I couldn't do, or hadn't learned to do. I had stood in front of people and sang and played many times. It was nerve racking, but nothing a person who could play couldn't actually do, even if it was poorly and caused either unfathomable silence or near riots. At 15 my comic gods were Sam Kinison and Andrew "Dice" Clay. They hated each other, but I could never choose sides because they were both great. I had all of their tapes, and even cried when my father wouldn't let me purchase Dice's The Day the Laughter Died because of the "Explicit Lyrics" warning that appeared on the cover. I dug Carlin and Hicks, and had tapes of performers from Woody Allen to W.C. Fields. I had been a writer since high school, with humor always as the goal. The question did occasionally loom. Could I do what these talented people were doing? I had stood on stage and been maybe one hundredth of an Eddie Van Halen. Could I also be one hundredth of a Jerry Seinfeld?

There's an episode of Cheers in which the character Cliff Clavin decides we wants to have a go at stand-up comedy. Billed as “The Merry Mailman,” his routine is abysmal and consists of nothing but "What's up with that?" lines (e.g. "What about those Avon ladies? Ding-dong! What's up with that?") Even Cliff’s best friend Norm says, “I never thought I’d see a whole room full of people not laughing at Cliff.”

When Cliff is done with his set, the lights turn on and he looks around and no one is there except Norm. Cliff asks, "Where did everyone go?" "There was a bomb scare," Norm replies.

"Where?" Cliff asks.

"Right about where you were standing, actually," Norm says.

Cheers' mailman Clavin is one of the most sympathetic characters in television history. Whether it was being a contestant on Jeopardy! or having Johnny Carson do one of his jokes on The Tonight Show, he was always trying to be somebody, and always failing. We sympathize with him, and some of us even identify with him, because most of us have experienced a minor disaster like these that Cliffy had to go through. It was with John Ratzenberger's Charlie Brownesque character in mind, that I tried my own hand at stand-up comedy.

Our first story begins on a breezy March afternoon in Massachusetts in 2004. The New England Patriots had just won their second Super Bowl. Million Dollar Baby was the Academy Award winner for Best Picture. And Fantasia Barrino was on her way to becoming the third American Idol. Our (that is myself and my then girlfriend, soon-to-be fiance, and now wife Amy) neighbor Margaret had just published a book about being a survivor of a physically abusive marriage. We were very happy for her, both for coming through it strongly and for being a published author. To celebrate the book's publishing there was a spaghetti dinner at a local bar. For whatever reason, there was also going to be some open mic comedy. Nothing like some comedy to kick off the publishing of a memoir about spousal abuse. Margaret, knowing what a sensitive and funny guy I am, and Amy, despite knowing I certainly am not the former, each suggested I participate.

When you have a tendency to be funny in your everyday life, people will sometimes say, "You should be a comedian." I'm not someone who's always on. In fact, most times I'm completely off, like an air conditioner in the wintertime. But when I'm comfortable, I can be quite amusing, and some people have indeed said this to me. It's not uncommon, however, for two people to have completely different impressions of me - one will think I'm a comedian, the other that I'm just a creepy, silent dude. Of course, I had never done the stand-up thing before, but, like Cliff Clavin, I had always secretly wanted to. Then again, I always wanted to be a pro wrestler. To try that without any actual training would lead to certain injury, perhaps death. Just ask Brian Ong or Branden Starr. Well, guess what? You can’t because they’re both dead.

Tragic wrestling school deaths aside, just by pondering it, I was beginning to succumb to the "You should be a comedian" idea.
I really thought about it, whether I wanted to do this. It was open mic. What could it hurt? Of course, I had to come up with a routine. Would I be a singing comedian? A prop comic? An impressionist? So I prepared myself a set, some based on things I had already written. No sense in writing new material, I lazily thought. I mapped out a short set list and practiced. These would be my topics:

Part 1. Spring, Easter and Religion

Part 2. Gay Marriage

Part 3. The Red Sox-Yankees Rivalry

I think part of me wanted to burst some bubbles as my material on gay marriage and the Sox-Yankees rivalry might cause a little controversy. Watch out! Here's comes the new bad boy of comedy! I could have just gone up there with some memorized jokes from a Milton Berle book. Maybe drawn a face on one of my old socks and had everyone in stitches. Instead I wanted to do anti-religion, pro-gay marriage, and anti-Sox fan material.

Thus, on a cool spring night, Amy and I drove to this bar. The name of it escapes me. I think I forgot the name as soon as we walked in there. We had a tough time finding it, and I secretly prayed we wouldn't. I was ready to chicken out. I didn't want to tell Amy this. She believed in me, believed I was a funny man. Perhaps if I had piped up and said, "Oh, well. You know, there's a wonderful Italian place somewhere around here," she would have given up. Alas, after driving in circles for twenty minutes, we found the place.

We arrived, ate our dinner, and watched some absolutely atrocious stand-up from students of some guy's comedy class. Who's teaching stand-up in Fitchburg, Mass? I had no idea, but what a group. This boosted my confidence a little. Even if I sucked, my material was better than this! I figured most of these people received the class as a gift from one of their children. You know, just as you would buy your mom a pottery class? Oh, I was full of big talk and criticism. Just let me up there!

Once this hilarity ended, there was an improvisational comedy session. I guess there's an improv troupe in Fitchburg also. Who knew it was such a hotbed of comedy? I guess you can call it “Third City.” Somehow, I participated in this improv thing. I don't know how or why. Amy may have pushed me up there. The ridiculous thing is I actually killed. I was a riot and I really should have quit while I was ahead. The bit consisted of a duel between two contestants in which you had to name things, like brands of shampoo or types of venereal diseases, and keep naming them until someone can't. I was up against a woman and felt shampoo brands was more than a little sexually bias. But I'm pretty good at making stuff up. So when I ran out of brands, I'd say something like "Henderson." And they had to take my word for it. There were no judges. No one was checking my work. It was a stupid game, really, with a lot of holes. Finally, I lost. I shouldn't have said "Hitler." No one was going to believe that Hitler was a brand of shampoo. I then had to pretend I was dying - a foreboding sign of things to come. I was on my knees and everything. I was so Shakespearean. When this was finally over, I still had to painfully wait through a woman playing a bunch of songs on a guitar. Did I really want to be a part of this? I mean, is Letterman or someone from Comedy Central here? Why am I doing this? It was fight or flight time, and I was fighting for some reason. I was ready to make my comedy debut.

Finally, it was my turn to go up. This young man introduced me. He pronounced my name correctly, which surprised me. But, honestly, if there was one instance in which I would have liked a creative mispronunciation, this was it. So, I sheepishly walked onto the stage. Now here's the thing that really destroyed me. This is the thing that would have made or broken my experience: Had I gone up with my notes, a la Richard Lewis or Janeane Garofalo, I might have killed. I still think the material was stellar enough. Enough, I'm saying, for a bar in Fitchburg. I'm not saying hand this material to Chris Rock and he has a new HBO special. I'm saying it was funny enough compared to what I witnessed through the course of the evening. Most of the students had used notes. Make fun as I did, I was less than a student. I had been watching this stuff for twenty years, criteria I ridiculously thought made me qualify to perform without the prerequisite the other "comics" had. For some reason, I thought notes were a little hack, even for a beginner. But what did I have to lose? If I wasn't such an arrogant stand-up snob, I might have done well for myself. But, no, I had to go up and try to recite my first ever stand-up act by memory. I was practically shitting myself walking up to that microphone. Then I went on, getting a small amount of laughs with my bit about how the Easter Bunny killed Christ.

Then came my hilarious Miracle Whip bit, the tail end of which went:

That’s a board meeting I wish I were in on:

“Okay, Ted, what new product ideas do you have?”

“Well, sir, how about we put human feces in a can and call it Second Coming Sloppy Joe Mix?”

“Why, that’s a dandy idea, Ted!

Say, could you pass the crack vial?"

This was slightly reminiscent of the old Grape Nuts routine ("No grapes. No nuts."). And I regret that last line immensely. Someone in the crowd actually shouted at me, "You're on crack!" and I froze. Holy crap! I was just heckled! I saw the guy too. He was playing pool, probably not even listening to most of what I was saying. What do I do? I don't have any comebacks! I could tell him his mother's a whore and have him stab me in the parking lot later. I wanted it to all be over. This set, this night, my life. I mean, if Freddie Prinze, Ray Combs and Richard Jeni did themselves in, what chance did I have?

I wanted out of there immediately. Get the hook. Cut it short, I told myself. I was having a panic attack; yet, I was still holding that microphone. So I ignored the heckler, and within seconds I made the executive decision to axe the pro-gay marriage portion of my little show, which examined the arguments against same-sex marriage. There I would have been in a seedy hetero bar in Fitchburg defending the homosexual's right to be married to a bunch of people who were no doubt angry to be living in the one state at the time that would allow this to happen. I had a whole section about the slippery slope to incest and bestiality. I explored the Biblical arguments, and that it says homosexuals should be put to death, but it also says that any woman who can't prove she’s a virgin when she's married should be put to death. And "Yikes!" (I actually had that written in my notes - "Yikes!") That would make for some interesting ceremonies. There would have been just a bunch of material embracing the rights of homosexuals performed by yours truly in front of a bunch of drunks. Would it have been a hate crime if I had been beaten up afterwards? I'll never know, because I punched out of that bit like a fighter pilot from a burning jet.

However, perhaps just as bad was the bit I decided to go into next. I went straight for part three of my act: how Red Sox fans are stupid with their "Yankees suck!" chants every place they gather. I even did a Ted Kennedy impression in this bit. It was terrible. I also did a bit about the Curse of the Bambino. So, seven months later, when the Sox won their first World Series since 1918, you can bet I was taking partial credit for the victory.

I managed to get through this portion, and I didn't get lynched, but I was completely embarrassed and I wanted out
of there toot sweet. But Amy and I stuck around to say goodbye to Margaret. We never saw her. Amy later told me she said I was funny. But we saw her a lot less around the neighborhood after this. She was probably hiding behind cars every time she saw us. Either way, my first, and what I thought would be my last, stand-up performance was history. I was glad it was all over, and I really thought I would never do it again. I was worse than Cliff Clavin, Fozzie Bear, or anyone else who tried stand-up.

Now, I don't know. I might just be extremely hard on myself. Amy says I certainly am. After all, actor/comedian Richard Belzer wrote, in his 1988 book, How to be a Stand-Up Comic, that, "Failure is inevitable in early stand-up comedy," and that, "Everyone bombs in the beginning." He also wrote that, "You can't be a part-time comedian any more than you can be a part-time brain surgeon." Well, I decided that I would be less than part-time. After this experience I put performing stand-up completely out of my mind. One and done. That was my motto.

Now comes part two of our saga. Made, perhaps, oh, a thousand times worse due to the fact that rather than performing in front of a bunch of Central Mass drunkards, I was standing in front of my co-workers. Nearly two years after the Fitchburg Massacre, my department at work was having another of its yearly Christmas parties, or "Winter Celebrations." In fact, it was in January, on my mother's birthday, making it all the more horrible. The year prior, my co-worker Jim, who was a deejay on the side, brought his equipment to deejay the party, which was a karaoke extravaganza. Who knows if they ever paid him for his services? But it was such a success they decided to do it again. This year, as luck would have it, someone decided to expand and make it a whole talent show. There would not only be karaoke for all to sign up for, but if someone had another talent - like comedy perhaps - go for it. Being a guitar player, it did occur to me that I could just sing a delightful song. But there was no way I was going to laboriously bring my guitar into work and make an ass of myself that way. I only need a microphone to embarrass myself, thank you.

Right now, reader, you're probably asking, "Asshole, didn't you learn anything?" But, see, I had just come off one hell of a best man speech at my brother's wedding in England. I mean I killed. I was Jack the Ripper. But, of course, I was very much helped by my notes. Everyone reads from notes when giving a speech. That was the one time I was ever smart - or good - when standing in front of a crowd. Thus, basking in this recent victory, and forgetting the "You're on crack!" heckle that had been haunting me for 21 months, I said to myself, "Comedy, eh?" So I proudly marched up to the sign-up sheets and wrote my name under "Comedy." When it got out to my team members that I had signed up, one of them, my buddy Steve, asked me, "Have you done it before?"

"Once," I replied, just as confidently as if I had performed in clubs all over the country, and forgetting that you wouldn't go 21 months between your first and second brain surgeries. Steve was the kind of guy who participated in nothing, and someone I should probably have paid attention to. Words cannot describe the stupidity of doing something like stand-up comedy in front of everyone you work with. Parties like this should really be done outside of work, preferably at night at a bar. Not for ninety minutes in between the workday like this was. Booze is a necessity for karaoke, comedy, and anything involving a microphone and a crowd of people. Even priests have a big chalice of wine to get them through. I must have thought I was going to be great, and be a star to everyone or something. I mean I killed just a few weeks prior! My comedy translated to a whole nother country! I was on fire! Someone should really have slapped some sense into me. I let this best man speech go to my head.

The key, once again, was the notes. I again decided to absolutely NOT use notes while on stage, choosing instead to try to memorize my act as a seasoned veteran would. Mind you, a year later someone did a monologue from Jaws while reading notes. It wouldn't have killed me to do the same. Have I yet beaten to death that I really should have used notes in both of these instances?

This being a work event, I had a toned-down set planned. I was very careful picking the material. So I went with 80s nostalgia. That sounded like a great idea. A wonderful topic, in fact. Who doesn't love the 80s?

Here was my topics list:

Part 1. 80s game show Puttin' on the Hits!

Part 2. Fortune-telling game MASH

Puttin' on the Hits! was a syndicated lip-synching talent show in the mid-80s hosted by Allen Fawcett. I thought segueing from karaoke, and also with lip-synching hilariously being offered as a talent, to a retro topic like Puttin' on the Hits! was ideal and very safe. I also figured this would segue beautifully into my bit about the old Mansion-Apartment-Shack-House game.

Deejay Jim introduced me as "funny man." I was the lone "comedian" among seven or eight karaokers. And this was recorded. I know that. Someone has this on tape somewhere. So picture this material with very frequent stuttering and pausing and portions of it omitted because I forgot some lines. This went far worse than the Fitchburg Massacre did. And picture, also, that I was wearing what looked like a barbershop quartet shirt while performing these jokes. Belzer wrote that, "Your look is a matter of personal style," but I certainly didn't want to give off a Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby vibe.

It was show time. I began by stating that I wanted to do karaoke, but that Jim didn't have "Fishheads" or "The Humpty Dance." That was about the extent to which my game plan worked. I staggered through the rest of my act like Edgar Allan Poe through the streets of Baltimore:

You ever do Puttin' on the Hits with your friends, and lip sync to “Material Girl,” and everyone laughs at you and throws stuff at you? Oh, I did. Sitting there with my little sticker albums and my Lurky from Rainbow Brite pillow I made in Home-Ec… Hiding my sister’s friend’s jelly shoes while they’re in her bedroom:

Miss Mary Mack mack mack
all dressed in black black black

Playing MASH - Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House.

Brilliant segue, yes? I wish I could tell you it came out that way. At this point the microphone was a .357 Magnum and I was R. Bud Dwyer. I was trying to put together as much of my act that I could recollect into words as coherently and quickly as possible so I could get off that stage. It was then that I realized why they call a bad stand-up performance "bombing" or "dying." This is not hyperbole. It really feels that way. I can't say exactly where the Butt-headesque "Uhhhhh"s appeared. I do remember saying the words "I'm blanking," at one point. I realized I was doing worse than the comic Amy and I saw at this dive in New York who, during his set, actually said, "I hate my own act." However you feel about the sample material as it's written, just know it was delivered horribly, and I spaced out a number of times. I did get laughs, perhaps sympathy ones. I don't remember what Jim said when it was over, but I do recall returning to my seat, and seeing my friend Steve completely unable, or unwilling, to look my in the eyes. He was embarrassed for me, as he should have been. For once I couldn't wait to get back to my cubicle and do some work. There were a small few who told me I did great, but, overall, the after effect was akin to the Hootie fiasco. On my drive home I was like Philip Seymour Hoffman after he tried to kiss Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights. "I'm a fucking idiot! I'm a fucking idiot!"

The following year (Yes, I stayed for nearly two years after this.) my boss tried to coax me into performing again, but I was having none of that. I was officially retiring the microphone, the barbershop shirt, everything. I would not be appearing on Last Comic Standing anytime soon.

And that was my foray into the world of stand-up, perhaps the shortest career ever save for the countless people who smartly did it but once. I don't know that I ever would have had the stamina or heart to bomb hundreds of times over the course of months or years. Twice in a two-year span was plenty. I ended up having more respect for stand-ups than I had even before.

Steve Martin said, “Comedy may be big business, but it isn’t pretty.” The latter was probably never truer than when I was on stage, with the possible exception of when Steve Lubetkin leaped to his death from the hotel next to the Comedy Store in 1979. I imagine that was pretty darn ugly.

If comedy truly equals tragedy plus time, then I learned that tragedy equals comedy plus me. And I understand why people bungee jump or skydive. It's a hell of a lot easier on the ole nerves than trying to tell jokes on stage.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Death of Leslie Nielsen = Death of the Spoof Film?

There is a lot of sadness on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else in North America over the recent death of actor Leslie Nielsen. I had two immediate thoughts about this. One was O.J. did it. I don’t know how, but if he got away with two (allegedy) he can get away with another. The second was that Nielsen was 84! That’s over a decade past the average male life expectancy. So please do not cry for Detective Frank Drebin.

And there is fantastic news about Mr. Nielsen’s death: He never had to be in a Jason Friedberg/Aaron Seltzer movie. Fred Willard and Dave Foley can’t say that, unfortunately.

There are perhaps still a few of us who are unaware that the Canadian-born Nielsen was in many, many films and television shows prior to the Abrahams/Zucker spoof Airplane!, including Forbidden Planet, The Poseidon Adventure, and 50 other films you would never sit through, films with names like …And Millions Die! and Viva Knievel! So Airplane! was far from Nielsen’s first exclamation point movie.

But it was the 1977 Jim Abrahams/Zucker Brothers comedy The Kentucky Fried Movie that changed Nielsen’s career. He had an uncredited cameo in that film, but the producers kept Nielsen in the back of their minds. He had to spend the next two years doing films like Little Mo, The Albertans, and City on Fire, the disaster B-movie made immortal by Mystery Science Theatre 3000, but finally greatness came in 1980: Nielsen’s first real comedy role. Sure he had starred in comedies with the likes of Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason and Don Knotts, and he’d have to share the spotlight here with Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but Airplane! belonged to Nielsen.

The following eight years were almost as ridiculous for Leslie as the previous ones. You had Prom Night and Creepshow; the extraterrestrial spoof The Creature Wasn’t Nice; Soul Man, of course; Nuts, which would be his last non-comedy role, starring with Barbra Streisand and Richard Dreyfuss; and Dangerous Curves, the wonderful Tate Donovan vehicle. But Nielsen also got to star in six episodes of a show called Police Squad! (There’s that exclamation point again), a television crime spoof created by, you guessed it, Abrahams and the Zucker Brothers.

This lead to the 1988 comedy classic The Naked Gun, Nielsen’s first starring role in a film people would actually see. It had all the greats – George Kennedy, Priscilla Presley, Ricardo Montalban, and, of course, O.J. Simpson – but, even more so than Airplaine!, this was Leslie Nielsen’s film.

There were two more Naked Gun movies, then O.J. murdered Nicole and her friend (Allegedly!), and Nielsen was typecast in spoof films, each one worse than the last. There was Repossessed (Exorcist spoof), Spy Hard (James Bond spoof), Wrongfully Accused (Fugitive spoof), Mel Brooks’ Dracula: Dead and Loving It (Duh), 2001: A Space Travesty (Really?), Scary Movie 3 and 4, Superhero Movie, and Stan Helsing. That’s right. STAN F-ing Helsing. Nielsen was the “Weird Al” Yankovic of film.

He also starred in about a dozen family films, and I would rather make my two-year-old sit through Gladiator and Natural Born Killers than any of them.

And that was the career of Leslie Nielsen. He may have invented television’s Nielsen ratings, but I’m far too lazy to confirm that.

So, yes, the death of the great Leslie William Nielsen, OC is a sad thing for everyone. But if anything good can come out of it, it could mean the final nail in the coffin of the spoof film, a genre than began with Abbott and Costello and continued with Mel Brooks and Monty Python, and has recently given us MacGruber, Dance Flick, and Vampires Suck. So perhaps the Wayans Brothers and the Friedberg/ Seltzer team have already hammered that last nail.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

PLEASE vote for "Mister Bink Habit" at Bartleby Snopes

Dear Beautiful Blog Reader,

I am a man with but 12 followers, which means I'm worse than Manson and the guy who carnied me out of a twenty that time in New Orleans. Nonetheless, you have come to my humble, stealth blog here on the miserable internets, and I thank you.

This week my little story of a mere 500 words called "Mister Bink Habit" is up for the distinct honor of Story of the Month on the prestigious literary journal that is Bartleby Snopes. If you are reading this, please do me the favor of going to the first link below and voting for my story. The voting ends December 4. You would be making a poor Vietnamese boy very happy.

Thank you,

Michael Frissore




Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thanksgiving Haiku

Turkey makes you sleep?
Didn’t work when I shoved some
dark meet on her face.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Writing in the November Issue of Houston Literary Review

Here it is! BAM! And you say gawd dam! It's the November 2o1o issue of The Houston Literary Review, featuring yours truly's little ode to the Texas Prison Museum.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ian Ayris

Today, I introduce you to the wonderful stories of English author Ian Ayris, presented by the terrific online literary journal
Pulp Metal Magazine.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Do People Still Write Haikus?

Yes, but they no longer have to be in 5-7-5 form. That's right! Form be damned. As long as the whole thing is 17 syllables or under. And God help you if you write a humorous haiku, Sunshine. You'll get chastised. I found that out the hard way.

Anyhoo, here are six terrible haiku of my own.

Haiku Breath

Tic Tacs rattle
in my pocket.
Everybody wants one.

Haiku Cheeseburger

My cheeseburger
falls in the dirt.
I still eat it.

Haiku for that Four-Year-Old, Bald, Canadian Cartoon

I want to write a
haiku that’s a rhyme AND
a tribute to Caillou.

Haiku in the Name of Blinkers

You would think that they
don’t install directionals
in cars anymore.

Haiku Laurel and Hardy

He said, “A lot of weather
we’re having lately.”
Then I punched him

Haiku Web

Can we stop
using the prefix

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Very Merry Christmas Stories

Celebrate Christmas this year with a trio of Holiday tales.

First, it's a war over Christmas with this Best of the Web 2009 nominee at Fear of Monkeys called "The Smell of Eggnog in the Morning."

Then, what? It's Christmas in July? Only at Literary Burlesque with "The Christmas Ice Cream Memo."

Finally, enjoy the darker side of the Holidays at the final 2010 issue of The Ante Review with "Christmas Tales in Brief."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

High Colonic on Used Gravitrons

To hear the greatest song ever recorded visit Used Gravitrons
and check out “She’s So Fine,” by High Colonic.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Michael Frissore: Pushcart Prize Nominee

One of my dazzling short stories, "Game Shows," has just been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by a wonderful fledgling literary journal called The Toucan, an outfit based in Pittsburgh, PA. This is huge news as last year my story "The Smell of Eggnog in the Morning" was nominated for Dzanc Books' Best of the Web anthology. So next year I hope to be up for a Nobel or something.

To read this Pushcarty story:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Lost Short Stories of Michael Frissore, Part II

The Gay Viking
By Michael Frissore

UNO is a game of skill as much as luck. Dave knew this. That’s why he cheated. He never wanted to play, and he certainly never wanted to wear any of the silly hats Bill made you wear if someone gave you a Draw Four card. Because then the camera came out, and Bill and his fiancĂ© Sue would have endless photos of you in ridiculous looking hats. Dave cheated not to win the game, but to ruin it. When there were twelve players, as was often the case at Bill and Sue’s house, it was easy. One game you lose a couple of cards; the next you accidentally flush the entire deck down the toilet. On this night, however, there were only four. Dave thought this would get him out of playing, but Bill and Sue both insisted. Steve, the fourth player, had been sitting quietly while Dave pulled shenanigan after shenanigan.

Once, when Bill’s parents were visiting, Dave became so frustrated with Bill’s father’s aggressive UNO playing, he shouted, “It shouldn’t be this way,” and began hurling expletives about the place. If you put down a card and have only one left, and you don’t say “UNO!” Bill’s dad will let you have it. “UNO! He forgot to say UNO!” he shouted. These games were not for the weak of heart.

After a few games, Bill found at least a dozen cards on Dave’s chair, and Bill and Sue’s dog Petey coughed up a couple of cards as well. When Bill noticed Dave cutting patterns into cards with scissors, he had finally had enough.

“All right, Dave,” he said. “Could you please play fairly?”

“I’m playing as fairly as I’m capable,” Dave said.

“Yes, sadly, that’s true,” Sue said, “And, yippee, it’s your turn to deal. Go ahead, Dave.”

Dave shuffled the cards awkwardly, spilling his beer in the process. Finally he cut and dealt them, dropping a Red 9 as the first card of the game. Sue then added a Red 5.

“Okay,” Steve said upon his turn, “I have an orange card and a pink card, both colored in Magic Maker, and a Pokemon card. I don’t think that’s regulation.”

“Yeah, and I have a 5 of spades and the Death Card, apparently,” Sue said. “Didn’t know you were into Tarot, Dave.”

“And I have a 1979 Carl Yastrzemski and half a slice of cheese,” Bill said. “Damn it, Dave. Why can’t you play this game properly?”

“Well, if we’d play Spin the Bottle like I always suggest,” Dave said. “This wouldn’t happen.”

“I’m not letting you kiss my fiancĂ©,” Bill replied.

“Not fair!” Dave screamed. “Unfair! Unfair! Unfair!”

Dave fell to the floor and officially threw a temper tantrum, kicking and pounding, crying and screaming. He threw the cards at the wall and ran outside.

“Okay,” Bill said. “So Dave finally snapped. Who had tonight in the pool?”

“Oh, that would be me,” Steve said, collecting his money.

It was quiet for half a minute. Sue picked the cards up off the floor while Bill and Steve quietly stared ahead, neither offering to help her.

“I wish the Gay Viking was here,” Steve said.

“What?” Bill asked.

“I said I’m way liking this beer,” he replied before receiving a call on his cell phone. “Hello?” he said.
“Okay, see you in a bit.”

Steve hung up, stretched, and took a good look around.

“Okay, guys,” he said. “That friend of mine I told you about is here.”

“You mentioned nothing about a friend, Steve,” Bill replied. “I didn’t know you had friends besides us.”

“Well, whatever,” Steve said. “Did you put the CD in that I gave you?”

“The one marked ‘Cher’s Greatest Hits?’” Bill asked. “Are we really listening to that?”

“No,” Steve said. “I just wrote that on the CD so no one would ever steal it.”

There was a knock at the door. Steve rose to his feet immediately and looked out the window.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “You’ve heard of Leif Ericcson. You’ve seen Leif Garrett. And you all know Fran Tarkenton. But here, in this very…dining room is…The Gay Viking!”

“Look,” Bill said. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but I would like to state, for the record, that Fran Tarkenton and Leif Garrett are not gay.”

Generic stripper music began playing as Steve opened the door to a man wearing only thong underwear, a Viking hat and cowboy boots. Bill and Sue watched in stunned silence, while Steve clapped along to the
Gay Viking’s dance. He was not a very coordinated dancer, and he certainly did not have the body for the outfit he was wearing. Nonetheless, he danced about the room, knocking over glasses and bowls, and kicking Petey twice.

“Uh, Steve,” Bill finally said. “What the hell is this?”

“It’s the Gay Viking,” Steve said. “The greatest performing Viking in recorded history.”

“I see,” Bill replied, then pondered the thought. “No, I don’t see. Why? That’s all I can say, Steve. Why?”

“Listen,” Steve said. “The Gay Viking is the next big thing.”

“Not in a thong and cowboy boots, he isn’t,” Bill said. “Why the cowboy boots, anyway, if he’s a Viking?

“You have no sense of art,” Steve said. Bill thought about this statement as the Viking segued from a moonwalk into a can-can.

“Steve,” Bill said, “Get him out of here. He’s freaking me out.”

“You know what it is?” Steve said, turning the music off. “You’re homophobic.”

“What?” Bill and Sue both protested.

“A man like the Gay Viking,” Steve said, “makes you sick because he’s being himself and just wants his rights.”

“You’re insane, Steve,” Bill said. “Do you remember the parade Sue and I went to last spring? The one you refused to go to because you didn’t want to catch anything?”

“No,” Steve said. “But see, this was a test and you failed. And now I have an announcement to make. Your rejection of the Gay Viking had led me to announce that I intend to run for Governor.”

“Steve,” Sue said, laughing, “You know shit about politics.”

“As does my opponent, Mr. Jones-en-blath.”

“You don’t even know the Governor’s name,” Sue said.

“Neither do you,” Steve said.

“Of course we do, Steve,” Bill said. “Now, let’s leave the Land of Make Believe and return to reality. You have zero political experience.”

“So?” Steve said.

“Well said,” Steve replied. “Is the berserker gonna dress like that during your campaign?”

“You bethca, Billy,” Steve said, “Now it is time to begin my gubernatorial campaign. And, with the Gay Viking by my side, I shall win this election.”

Steve turned the music on again as he and the Viking danced out of the house. Once they were gone, Bill and Sue exchanged stunned glances.

“What the hell just happened?” Bill said.

Bill and Sue knew Steve to be a very interesting person. Steve, though certainly a liberal, was not a terribly political person. Despite his jokes and refusal to attend parades, they knew he was pro-gay marriage, and he had been asking them, “Would you vote for me?” a lot lately. Gay marriage had been a hot-button issue in many states, especially Steve’s. He became increasingly troubled by the current governor’s obsession with whether homosexuals could marry. Governor Robert Egry, who was planning a presidential run, even attacked other presidential hopefuls who he felt were soft on same-sex marriage.

Despite having kicked off his presidential campaign, and that election only being two years away, Egry decided to run for re-election to ensure that the Governor’s office remained vigilant on making gay marriage illegal. Now, the formerly unopposed Republican incumbent Egry had a Democratic challenger in Steve Hudson. No one took Steve seriously, even after his official announcement at his press conference at “Viking Headquarters,” which was Steve’s front yard. A large crowd of reporters attended as Steve spoke, wearing pajamas, a sleeping cap, and holding a cup of coffee.

The Gay Viking stood behind him in the same garb as before. Three other young men were also with Steve. He referred to them as “interns, or pages, if you know what I mean.” Observing from the window of the living room of the Hudson family home was Steve’s wife Ellen, none too pleased with the spectacle her husband was causing.

Steve motioned for the crowd to calm down, as if they had been cheering him wildly, then he stood on his front porch staring at them for a full ten seconds before finally speaking.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Steve said. “I, Steve Hudson, am here today to announce my candidacy for Governor as the Democratic challenger to Robert Egry. My opponent has talked a lot about gay marriage while ignoring other important issues. It makes me wonder whether Mr. Egry himself is a closet homosexual.”

There were some gasps and some laughter from the crowd as the Gay Viking did a little dance, which included a high David Lee Roth-style kick that knocked Steve’s coffee out of his hand.

“We meant to do that,” Steve said. “I’m kidding about the Governor, of course, but my campaign manager, the Gay Viking, is indeed one of these so-called homosexuals. Does he not deserve to enjoy the wonder that is marriage as we heteros are all free to do? The constant nagging, bitterness and angry, expensive divorce. Why shouldn’t gays enjoy this sanctity as well?”

Steve made little air quotation marks around the word “sanctity,” as his wife came through the front door, wearing a bathrobe, hair curlers and face cream, and brandishing a rolling pin. Reporters began shouting questions at both, “Mrs. Hudson! Mrs. Hudson!” to Steve’s wife, and “Who are you, exactly?” to Steve, but Steve ended this by producing a water pistol and firing it at the press very matter-of-factly.

“Today,” Steve said, “in addition to announcing my candidacy, I am proposing a question for the ballots in the upcoming election. My friends Bill and Sue are engaged to be married. I think the people should have a vote as to whether they can indeed be husband and wife. So Question 69 will ask: Can Bill Wooden and Sue Marsh be married? Thank you. I will not be answering any questions. Now get off my property.”

Steve squirted the press again and went into his house to scattered applause. Shortly after Steve’s press conference, Robert Egry held one of his own. He stood at a podium at the governor’s mansion with his wife Eleanor and four children. They were an adorable lot: oldest son Jake, 19, wearing a lovely navy blue shirt with a smart bowtie; daughter Leona, 15, in the prettiest red dress; son Sean, 8, in a cute OshKosh B’Gosh outfit, and the youngest, Donnie, 6, in a SpongeBob SquarePants sweatshirt.

What the reporters did not see was the Egrys’ second oldest, Lance, 17, looking out from a second story closet window and listening to a Barbra Streisand CD.

“Folks,” the governor began. “I have no idea who this Steve Hudson is. I mean, where did he come from? Looks like just another lefty with no respect for the institution of marriage. A marriage is between a man and a woman; everyone knows that. A child cannot be raised without a mother and a father. You all know the arguments. I don’t have to recite them. But I look forward to good campaign. That’s all I have to say. God bless.”


As each side of the campaign really took off, with speeches, interviews and the like, Steve found himself in the middle of a real race. After years of simply refusing to get off the pot, Steve was now shitting. He was unfamiliar with all of the behind-the-scenes workings of a political campaign, but he was watching Egry closely. And when Egry’s campaign produced ads bashing the legitimacy of his candidacy, Steve and his staff of three college students and an eccentric man in a thong, boots and Viking hat, retaliated.

For the next few weeks there were political advertisements for both candidates on television and radio. Egry’s campaign said Hudson did not believe in family, supported activist judges, and, overall, was immoral. Hudson’s campaign said Egry was a Christian conservative with little interest in issues other than those that God speaks to him about.

Steve took many by surprise with his aggressive campaign. Among those who were not very supportive were Bill and Sue. When they heard of the new ballot question, and made several calls to confirm this nonsensical proposition, they became very upset. This wasn’t just Steve being silly Steve. He was messing with their wedding plans.

Steve, in his every day life, worked as a software engineer. He and Bill had met ten years before while both worked as temps in the billing department of the town hall. Bill had a knack for befriending odd personalities like Steve. Sue was very accepting of this in most cases, including Steve up until recently.

Much to the amazement of liberals Bill and Sue, and even of himself sometimes, Steve had married Ellen, a hardcore conservative, who, when Steve would go to visit his friends, would often stay home and pray or shoot squirrels in the backyard. They had a very chaotic relationship, filled with fights both political and otherwise.

Bill and Sue had been together for fifteen years, and engaged for three. Theirs was going to be a wonderful wedding. Sue had put up with a lot from Steve, but this was the last straw. They were not going to have the general public, or anyone, vote on their pending nuptials. During the first weeks of the campaign Bill and Sue didn’t hear much from Steve. Once they saw signs reading Vote No On Question 69 and Vote No On Bill & Sue, they felt they needed to pay his campaign headquarters a visit.

There was a lot going on at Viking Headquarters, which had moved to Steve’s backyard. Bill and Sue had no idea Steve would have so many supporters. There were a lot of young people milling about, some as young as six. There was a petting zoo and a little merry-go-round, old men selling cotton candy and fried dough, even an accordion player with a little dancing monkey. It was a festive atmosphere, but a lot of the older people were quite serious. This was a real campaign.

“Steve,” Bill said, “What is this? What the hell is wrong with you? We never gave you permission…”

“We were never even asked, for God’s sake,” Sue interrupted.

“Right,” Bill said, “Get our names off of Question 69, you immature bastard.”

“Can’t,” Steve said.

“What do you mean, ‘Can’t’?” Sue said. “Stop this nonsense! It’s not funny!”

“Woah,” Steve said, “Calm down, Susan ole girl. This is a place of business.”

“Yeah, the monkey certainly proves that. Why, Steve?” Bill said. “Why is this even necessary?”

“You’re my best friends.” Steve said. “I’m already married. This is a political statement. Don’t you see? You believe in same-sex marriage, don’t you?”

“Yes, but isn’t there a better way to make this statement?” Sue said. “And who is this Gay Viking person?”

“He’s just a friend,” Steve said. “What does it matter? Yes, no, you’ll still get married.”

Bill thought for a moment and looked around at everything Steve had done thus far. He definitely seemed serious about his campaign. Maybe this was Steve’s calling. Maybe he deserved their support.

“Steve,” Bill said. “Promise me one thing.”

“What is that?”

“In no way will we not be able to get married,” Bill said. “If everyone does vote no, it won’t matter.”

“Of course,” Steve said.

“What?” Sue said. “That’s it? You’re accepting this?”

“Sue,” Bill said. “Steve is involved politically. Maybe we shouldn’t piss on him for it.”

“Involved politically? He wouldn’t attend a parade before. Now he’s screwing with our wedding! God!” Sue exclaimed as she left the premises.

Bill watched his wife fleeing and he became more and more frustrated with the scene he was in the middle of. What had Steve gotten him into? And how had he even managed it?

“Steve,” he said. “You’d better not screw this up for me. Sue and I actually care about each other.”

“Unlike all those queers, is that what you’re saying?” Steve replied.

“Oh, shut up.”

“You’d better start your Vote Yes on 69 campaign, buddy.”

Bill stared at Steve for a few seconds, then said, “I hate you.”

As Bill went out almost immediately with Vote Yes signs for himself and Sue, Steve’s opponents had already began airing ads against Proposition 69:

Do you want friends of something called The Gay Viking
married and living in your community? Vote “No” on Question 69.

The governor’s campaign was aggressive in attacking Steve as well. Numerous ads appeared on radio and television making all sorts of claims:

Steve Hudson voted for the dismantling of marriage…he voted to
make our military littered with homosexuals, thereby weakening
our national security…

Steve had never voted for anything in his life, not a single election, or even American Idol, but he wasn’t about to argue these facts with Governor Egry. If it’s dirty Egry wanted to play, he could do the same. He retaliated with his own ads:

Robert Egry not only voted against AIDS research, he and his
cronies have been putting HIV in the water supplies of many
of our cities and towns…Robert Egry doesn’t care about the
average, everyday taxpayer. In fact, every letter Robert Egry
receives gets thrown into the crawl space near his office where
he keeps several young boys, who then eat the envelopes
because they’re the only nourishment Robert Egry gives them.

Steve went for the jugular, creating an ad saying:

Governor Egry is against same-sex marriage, but his own
son is a big queer.

This caused the Egry campaign to produced this ad:

Steve Hudson’s wife says her husband is a big, flaming,
liberal douche who probably has homosexual
tendencies himself.

When Steve saw this ad he looked at his running mate and said, “Viking, write me a ditty about Egry’s wife. And put it to the tune of a Beatles song.”

Sure enough, with the Viking actually being quite a talent, the next week the Steve Hudson campaign debuted a political ad with a song set to the tune of “Eleanor Rigby”:

I’m Steve Hudson and I approved this message.
I’m Steve Hudson and I approved this message.

Eleanor Egry hires illegals to clean
up her house and her lawn.
Her dad’s an ex-con.

Does she have Hep-C?
Rumors abound she’s a slut
and a lesbian too.
Is she a Jew?

All you voting people
Vote for Steve Hudson!
All you voting people
Steve Hudson, he is great!

Eleanor Egry, drunk on hair spray
through the day
while in the mental ward
or Betty Ford.

But who can blame her?
She’s got a husband who cheats
and a son who is gay.
She wears a toupee.

All you voting people
Vote for Steve Hudson!
All you voting people
Steve Hudson, he is great!

Governor Egry and his supporters, of course, were none too happy about this. But it was at the debate that they could get even. The gubernatorial debate was broadcast live from a local high school auditorium during a newscast on Channel One. Newspapers, from the big city standards to supermarket penny savers, attended the event. The Governor’s family was there, as were Bill and Sue, and the Gay Viking. Rumors circulated that Steve’s wife would even be in attendance. Outside, it was a chaotic scene as gatherers from both sides came by the hundreds. Protestors held signs saying, “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” “God bless AIDS!” and “Go, AIDS!” There was one that even said, “God Hates Fudge Packers!”

Though Sue refused to talk to Steve, Bill approached him and said how proud he was of him, and to “knock ‘em dead” in the debate.

“Thanks, Bill. That means a lot,” Steve said. “Hey, have you heard from Dave at all lately?”

“No,” Bill said.

Governor Egry demanded that the only topic for discussion be gay marriage, a condition Steve agreed to, considering it was the entire basis for his campaign as well. The event was moderated by local newswoman Christine Scott, a veteran of television news and politics in the city, a Polk award winner, and a former beauty pageant contestant. She sat at a desk in front of both candidates, shuffling papers and waiting for her signal to begin.

“Good evening, everyone,” she said. “And welcome to the Gubernatorial debate, a debate about gay marriage. There will be no questions from me. One candidate will start and we’ll go back and forth from there. At the end, if we have time, audience members will be able to submit their questions. Governor Egry, you start please.”

“Thank you, Ms. Scott,” Egry said. “It’s simple really. I don’t even know why we’re here even discussing it. Marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. I can’t call an automobile a bird because some judge said I should. It’s traditionally heterosexual. It’s pretty straightforward. It’s definition. It’s tradition. A same-sex marriage isn’t the right environment for a child. Gay marriage threatens the institution, the sanctity of marriage.”

“All right, that’s enough. Mr. Hudson, your rebuttal,” Chris said.

“Thank you, Chris” Steve said. “And thank you for increasing the hotness quotient of our local nightly news. First of all. This is about equal rights. We’re all human beings. Why can’t two consenting adults be married? I did a little research. Did you know murderers, rapists and criminals of all kinds can get married? That’s surely not the right environment for a kid. The Governor talks about tradition. Until 150 years ago slavery was a tradition in this country. Slavery was as American as apple pie, motherhood, and heterosexual marriage. By the way, do they have motherhood in other countries? Anyway, and threatening the institution of marriage? How does allowing someone to get married threaten marriage? And, ladies and gentlemen, let me just say that in this day and age there is no sanctity in marriage. Most of them end in divorce, annulment, murder. Those that don’t are mired either in near constant screaming matches or non-communicative hatred and bitterness.”

“Yikes! Mr. Egry, is marriage an archaic, antiquated institution that should be scrapped altogether?” Chris said.

“Hardly, Ms. Scott, and I think your black viewers would agree you can’t compare slavery to gay marriage. And if you don’t believe there’s sanctity in marriage, Mr. Hudson, I feel sorry for you. You’re married. What does your wife think of all this?”

“I’ll tell you what she thinks!” a voice from the crowd shouted. It was Steve’s wife, who began running towards the stage, heaving pieces of fruit at her husband and shouting, “Queer!” and “Faggot!” until security wrestled her to the ground and escorted her out of the building, all the while shouting anti-gay comments. The auditorium buzzed with this commotion.

“The sanctity of marriage, ladies and gentlemen,” Steve said. “My wife. Take a bow, sweetie!”

“As I was saying,” the governor said, waiting for the laughter to die down. “Do we want this scene in the Governors mansion? Now, I understand that with Question 69, Mr. Hudson, you are making a mockery of our democracy, but what about letting the people vote on this issue?”

“Why?” Steve said. “Did anyone here get to vote on whether Governor Egry could marry his wife? If the American people voted on civil rights issue, slavery would still be legal in some states. The people don’t exactly have the rights of minorities in mind.”

“There you go with slavery again,” Egry said.

“You can have different degrees of comparisons, Governor. I’m just saying that you support “The Defense of Marriage Act.” That’s like if, in the 60s, they called a bill opposing integration, “The Defense of Water Fountains Act.”

“That act was signed by Bill Clinton, by the way,” Egry said. “You mentioned the people, Mr. Hudson. If the people are such bigots, why do you wish to represent them?”

“I’m not calling anyone a bigot. I’m just saying people vote with their own interests in mind.”

“I see,” Egry said. “Do you know what’ll happen if we allow gays to marry? Suddenly incest will be legal. Is that in my best interest? Then it’ll be bestiality…”

“Jesus Christ!” Steve exclaimed. “I’m sorry, but that may be the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard. That says a lot about what my opponent thinks of homosexuals, that he equates their lifestyle with fucking a dog or your sister.”

“Mr. Hudson,” Chris said. “As a member of the media I may have a strong liberal bias, but I cannot let you use that type of language on television.”

“Sorry, love,” Steve said. “Why stop there? Why not necrophilia? By the way, Governor, your super intelligent dog may be able to say ‘I do’ and sign a marriage license, but most dogs cannot. And why does their have to be a slippery slope, anyway? Can’t gay marriage simply lead to more work for bad wedding singers and male strippers?”

“Ms. Scott,” Egry said. “Control Mr. Hudson, please.”

“Why don’t you and your little Brown Shirts control him, Governor,” Chris said.

“Is that how it is?” Egry said. “Can’t say I’m surprised by that. Why don’t we get back to the debate at hand? What about procreation? If…”

“Procreation?” Steve said. “Do we have to prove that we intend to have kids in order to get married now? We’ll go to get our marriage licenses and be forced to impregnate our future wives right there in front of everyone? What about infertile and elderly couples, Governor? By that I mean can they be married, not should they have sexual intercourse in front of large groups of people. Either way, I say YES!”

“Nice!” Chris said. “Well stated, you marvelous future Governor, you!”

“Now look here, Mr. Hudson,” Egry said. “If you think you’re gonna get away with desecrating the sanctity of marriage and using foul language here today, taking the Lord’s name in vain…”

“Oh,” Steve said, “Here comes the Bible argument.”

“The Bible, Mr. Hudson, says homosexuality is an abomination.”

“Yeah,” Steve said. “Leviticus is great. It says a lot of things, like anyone who curseth – Curseth! Have you ever cursethed anything, Governor? - his mother or father must be killed. There’s also a really good passage on how to buy slaves in that one. Another good book is Deuteronomy, which tells us to kill anyone with a different religion. My personal favorite is from Chapter 22. It says if a woman can’t prove she’s a virgin when she’s married, she should be stoned to death. Yikes! That would make for some interesting ceremonies.”

“Well, it sure would,” Chris said. “Anything you could possibly respond with, Hitler?”

“Your general manager will hear from me, Ms. Scott.” Egry said. “You’ll be out of work very fast. And you, Mr. Hudson, you think you’re pretty cool, don’t you?”

“Yes,” Steve said.

“It’s very cool nowadays to make fun of the Bible.”

“Who’s making fun?” Steve said. “I’m just telling you what’s there, my favorite passages. What are yours?”

“Mr. Hudson,” Egry said. “If you want homosexuals to have their rights, what about civil unions? Isn’t that sufficient?”

“Oh, yes,” Steve said. “’Separate but equal,’ that’s always worked.”

“There he goes with the black comparison again.”

“Excuse me,” Chris said. “African-American, please, Mr. Everything That’s Wrong With This State. This debate is so one-sided anyway. Let’s just go right to our closing statements. Mr. Hudson, you first.”

“Thank you, Ms. Scott. You look lovely tonight, by the way,” Steve said. “Socrates, Plato, Alexander the Great, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sir Francis Bacon, Marlowe and Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Chopin, Picasso, Sir Isaac Newton, Vasco da Gama, Chief Crazy Horse, and on and on and on. All queers. That’s all I have to say.”

“Very good,” Chris said. “Do you hate all those people, Egry?”

“No, Ms. Scott,” Egry said. “If I may, moral issues like gay marriage and abortion…”

“I thought we were only talking about gay marriage,” Steve said.

“Yeah, cheater,” Chris said.

“Whatever, let him go,” Steve said.

“As I was saying,” Egry continued. “These are issues worth dying for.”

“Dying for?” Steve said. “You’ve been drinking again, haven’t you, Governor? You’ve been hitting your wife’s liquor cabinet.”

“Mr. Hudson,” Egry said. “I’m a not a violent man, but you’ve already attacked my family.”

“Withdrawn,” Steve said.

“You can’t…,” Egry began. “Gay marriage, Mr. Hudson, is an even bigger issue than abortion.”

“Two people wanting to get married is bigger than killing an unborn baby is what you’re saying?” Steve said.

“That’s what it sounds like,” Chris said.

“I mean,” Steve said. “I’m pro-choice personally, Chris, but at least I understand the sentiment behind the pro-life belief. This guy is insane.”

“May I continue, Mr. Hudson?” the governor said. “The president’s proposed amendment to ban gay marriage is a stroke of genius.”

Upon hearing this statement, Steve spat the water he was drinking all over Ms. Scott. She leaped out of her chair as a stagehand came over with a towel.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Scott,” Steve said. “Stroke of genius.”

“If I may finish,” Egry said. “The men Mr. Hudson named may or may not have been homosexuals. But do you know who were? Killer clown John Wayne Gacy. Jeffrey Dahmer, the Milwaukee Cannibal. Andrew Cunanan, who killed six people including Gianni Versace. And Michael Lupo, a sadomasochistic hairdresser who had a torture chamber in his home.”

“Holy shit, dude,” Steve said. “What are you getting at?”

“This is the type of lifestyle these people lead. And because of activist judges…”

“Oh, go screw…”

“Why don’t we end there?” Chris said. “Thank you for watching the gubernatorial debate, won handily by Democratic candidate Steve Hudson, I would say. Up next - Anna Itsrainenmen with our Doppler Times Infinity weather report. Also, tonight at 11:00 – an expert says the water you’re drinking and bathing in could give you AIDS. We’ll tell you about it. Stay tuned.”

The two candidates shook hands reluctantly as photographers snapped their pictures and reporters shouted their questions. In the back of the room a man came face to face with the Gay Viking, spat at him, and shouted, “Queer!”


It was the Sunday before Election Day. Governor Egry invited his constituents to a Mass at his church. Numerous Republican congressmen and senators, the Cardinal of the archdiocese, and the President himself all attended.

The Pastor, Father Magoo, spoke at length about gay marriage and other important moral issues, about how Hollywood has caused a moral decline in our society, and that Governor Egry has been wonderful for the state. He called for everyone to fill out the envelope they were handed regarding homosexual marriage and send it to their representatives.

Then the governor’s best friend, Mark Jackson, went up to read the first reading. Mark was also a Christian man. He and Egry had been friends for years. Mark belonged to a media watchdog organization that tracked offensive material on primetime television. He had contributed a lot of money to Egry’s campaign and the governor was very grateful. Mark’s wife and his three children, all under age seven, were seated in the front row.

Mark went up, very proud to be a part of Bob Egry’s campaign, and the governor also smiled heartily as his friend stepped in front of the microphone.

“A reading from the Book of Ezekiel…,” Mark began.

"There were two women, the daughters of one mother; and they played the harlot in Egypt. They played the harlot in their youth; there their breasts were pressed, and there their virgin bosom was handled.... she lusted after her lovers... and she bestowed her harlotries on them, all of whom were the choicest men of Assyria.... for in her youth men had lain with her, and they handled her virgin bosom and poured out their lust on her.... And she lusted after their paramours, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys and whose issue is like the issue of horses…" (Ezekiel 23:1-20)

Perplexed by the words he was seeing, and the ellipses he didn’t usually see in a Christian Mass reading, Mark continued as best he could. Meanwhile, at the back of the church, watching, listening, and sporting great, big smiles, were Steve Hudson and the Gay Viking, who had entered the church before anyone arrived and switched the readings. It was not as difficult a task as Steve thought it would be, and, thus far, the result was fantastic. He looked around to see who would stand up to read the second piece of scripture. It was the governor’s eight-year-old son, Sean.

Mark Jackson left the podium, returning to his seat. Steve felt a tinge of regret as he watched Sean Egry scamper up to perform his reading. But what could he do? All is fare in political campaigns. He surely couldn’t stroll up there and switch the reading back. And this passage was in the Bible after all.

Sean reached up for the microphone and pulled it down towards him.

“A reading from the Book of Judges,” he began.

"While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, 'Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.' The owner of the house went outside and said to them, 'No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing. Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish…”

Little Sean was only halfway through the reading, but the governor stepped in to stop him. He turned the pages vigorously, knowing this couldn’t have been the reading his campaign manager wanted his son to read. Egry told Sean to go back and sit with his mother as he donned his reading glasses and analyzed the text in front of him.

“So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night…

“This isn’t the reading you chose, is it Frank?” Egry asked his manager. He continued:

“Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home. When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel." (Judges 19:22-29)

“Right,” Egry said. “If you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to get to the bottom of this.”

Governor Egry ran out of the church. He knew who was responsible for this embarrassment, and he made everyone in the media aware of it. Steve denied it in the press and no one could prove he was involved. With the service being a disaster, Steve and the Gay Viking left to plan the final forty-eight hours of their campaign. But this stunt made Egry even more determined to beat Steve. The last two days, campaign staffers called voters throughout the state asking if they would vote for Steve if they knew he had an “illegitimate black, retarded child” (which he didn’t); and, when Egry discovered that Steve had an uncle who once worked as an assistant to a defense attorney who may have gotten a few criminals lighter sentences, his supporters began calling him “Let’ em Leave Steve.”

Both candidates worked hard the last two days. Governor Egry stood outside a football stadium, greeting every fan who walked by. Steve walked into various restaurants throughout the state capitol, shaking hands and kissing babies.

Meanwhile, Bill was standing on the side of the highway holding his “Vote Yes on Bill and Sue” sign. Sue was making him stand there all weekend, and during rush hour all week, before the election. Passersby honked, shouted at him, and even threw things, but Bill held his ground.

Just a few feet down was another man with his own sign, which read, “Vote Nomo Homos!”


The Election Day results were not even close. Steve received less than four percent of the vote, less than the Libertarian and Green Party candidates, and even the dogcatcher. Steve made his concession speech, promising to keep fighting for gay rights. In his speech, Governor Egry also made a promise – and he called it “The Gathering.”

Meanwhile, Question 69 received an 83 percent “No” vote. Bill told Sue this didn’t matter, they could get married anyway, but they found they could not get a marriage license or a single Justice of the Peace to marry them anywhere in the state. Bill told Sue they could move far away from this ridiculous, hateful democracy. Sue was having none of it. It wasn’t meant to be, she said. She and Bill were never meant to be.


The day after the election, Governor Egry revealed his plan for “The Gathering”: All of the homosexuals in the state would be rounded up, men and women, young and old, and they would be “cured.” The finest doctors available would reverse their “sickness.” And so it was carried out. Known homosexuals throughout the state were snatched from their homes, handcuffed and shoved into buses. They were then taken to camps where they would undergo “The Treatment.”

Among those gathered were The Gay Viking and Steve Hudson. When Steve was interviewed while boarding the bus, he called the procedure, “inhuman” and “barbaric,” making references to A Clockwork Orange, the Salem Witch Trials, and even Nazi Germany, but the governor had the power. Steve could do nothing.

Also taken into custody was the governor’s own son, Lance. It was a tearful moment. Egry’s wife pleaded with her husband to step in, but Egry stood his ground. It was all for the good of the country. In a matter of weeks they would have five normal children.


Once the election was over, after the pundits debated the results, after the concession speeches, the victory parties, once everyone started to forget there were hundreds of gay men and women forced into camps, a college-age son of a senator got into a bit of trouble.

Alan Fay, the son of Republican State Senator Mortimer Fay, was vacationing with friends in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. A few days into his trip, the world learned than Alan was in a Netherlands jail cell after being in a fight at a hash bar. He had also had sex with three prostitutes while in Amsterdam, and had consumed marijuana in many forms, including cakes, coffee and shakes.

Washington was collectively outraged. Governor Egry, the strongest warrior for moral issues, met with some senators, including Senator Fay, and they requested a meeting with the President, who the next day declared war on The Netherlands. When the U.N. said he couldn’t, the President told them to, “screw off, you bunch of foreigners.”

The media was abuzz with this sudden war declaration, but the President was quick to defend his decision. He held a nationally televised address, laying out the reasons for the war. The Netherlands, he said, is a country without morals, with prostitution, marijuana, and gay marriage all legal. They are a “seclear” nation, he said, with no God, no religion, and no sodomy laws. Crime was also rampant, according to the President, because the country has no death penalty and very strict gun laws. We must free “the Netherlanding people,” he said, from all of these evils.

“Cannabis,” the President said, “leads to suicide, insanity, murder, rape, and, yes, cannibalism, which is where the drug gets its name.”

“Mr. President,” a reporter said, “Do you have any facts about marijuana that weren’t taken from 1930s scare films?”

“I appreciate that,” he said. “And no, I don’t. Those are good films. Black and white. Very classic.”

“Mr. President,” another reporter said, “What about euthanasia?”

“When we finish saving the youth in the Nether Lando Calrisians, then maybe we’ll invade Asia.”

“Mr. President,” a third reporter shouted, “Where are you getting the troops for this war?”

“We’re, uh,” the President said, “We’re gonna use the fags that Governor Edgry has collected. Nothing like war to unqueer a fella. You want a gay military? Well, guess what. It’s gonna be Afagalypse Now. Fag Metal Jacket. Plaqueer.”

“Mr. President,” the first reporter shouted again. “Are you anti-gay?”

“I have no problem with gay people,” he told the nation. “I’m gay myself. I’m very happy. Hehehehehe.”

A spokesperson for the Netherlands said that, yes, prostitution, marijuana and gay marriage are indeed legal, but all except gay marriage are strictly regulated, and that there is no crime problem.

The President and his administration called this “bull cuckie.” They weren’t budging. They sent a message by bombing the Pennsylvania Dutch Country and Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Military leaders were then told to find out where, exactly, The Netherlands is. The President publicly apologized for the errors.

“Yeah,” he said, “We’re sorry. Of course I know where the Nether regions are. The Vice-President told me it’s right there with Germany and Belchin’. It’s located at the pie hole of three rivers: the Rhine…the Mississippi…and the Mickey. They’re called the Netherlando Lakes.”

Once the right intelligence was gathered, U.S. troops stormed through Amsterdam, targeting coffee houses, whore houses, dance clubs, live sex shows, the Sex Museum and the Heineken brewery.

The Royal Netherlands Army retaliated, much to the surprise of the President, considering the Netherlands allowed gays in its military. He appeared again on television, wearing war paint, and claiming the enemy consisted of “fags on speed.”

The war on this front didn’t last long. It wasn’t so much a war as it was an explosion here and there, mixed with one big party. Homo and heterosexual U.S. troops quickly became smitten with Amsterdam nightlife. If war was hell, these boys were ready to meet Satan himself. A coffee house or two was destroyed by accident, and a commander ordered the bombings of the Van Gogh Museum, the Artis Zoo and the Anne Frank House as merely a distraction, while their men partied it up with members of the Royal Army. When it looked like the U.S. had seized the zoo, the president proclaimed that the mission had been accomplished.

No one, at home or abroad, was listening. Soldiers on both sides were having the time of their lives. Seeing the war wasn’t working, the President ordered more troops to be sent in. These soldiers only joined in the festivities with the others. Back home the president threatened air strikes, as Congress, the Senate, and the U.N. condemned the idea of such an act. Support for the war among U.S. citizens was lower than any percentage of anything in American history. Even conservative radio hosts asked why we were in this war.

The President answered his critics by saying that to run would be admitting defeat, and that we would be “embolderning the whores, gays and pot-heads.”

But, in every major city in the country, there were protest rallies and parades. The surviving members of 60s protest band The Protesters performed at many of these rallies, with lead singer Bob Silva telling attendees that he was ashamed to have the same first name as Governor Robert Egry.

Meanwhile, Bill and Sue were each miserable. Sue stayed at the house, while Bill moved in with his brother. Bill spent his days trying to appeal the passing of Question 69, but, since it was a landslide, and he was but one man, it was no use.

Steve and the Gay Viking, like all the troops, went to fight. But they didn’t see the point. They slept during the day and enjoyed nights on the town. There was no war, per se, and the entire world began to see it. After a couple of weeks, U.S. troops became partied out and began calling American officials to go home. The president finally gave in, throwing his hands in the air, and even admitting that the war was a mistake.

Celebration abounded throughout the land. When the war was over, Steve and the Gay Viking returned home. Steve and his wife kissed passionately when he arrived. Steve was now a war veteran. She liked that. It did wonders for their marriage.

Alan Fay returned home to his family, having learned to behave while visiting other countries.

Governor Egry, after witnessing the imposed sacrifice of the gay U.S. troops, changed his opinion about gay marriage and called for an end to the seeking of a law banning it. He appeared on television shaking hands with the Gay Viking. The governor became sort of a friend to the gay community. He didn’t march in parades or anything, but his attitude certainly changed. In front of the entire world, the governor hugged his son Lance, then lifted a homemade sign that read, “I’m proud of my gay son” on one side, and “My favorite fruit? My son!” on the other.

Egry even saw to it that Question 69 was repealed, and Bill and Sue made up and had a lovely wedding. Steve and his wife attended, as did the Gay Viking and his new beau, whom he met in Amsterdam. Soon the Viking, whose real name was Matthew, and his new fellow Raymond, were married as well.

From then on, Steve and Ellen, Bill and Sue, and Matthew and Raymond would get together once a month for a big UNO game. Sometimes Cranium. But always a gay ole time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bill Maher to Debate Larry the Cucumber

Pseudo-Comedian and Crypt Keeper Bill Maher has debated anyone who will listen about the existence or non-existence of God - from conservative author Ann Coulter to Goliath the talking claymation dog to the cannibal women in the Avocado Jungle of Death.

Finally, though, Maher believes he has done was he was unable to do in his full-length slapstick talkie Ricockulous: prove to everyone that there is indeed no God.

On Christmas Eve, 2010, Maher will go one-on-one with the greatest Biblical scholar alive today: Larry the Cucumber from the animated series VeggieTales.

Maher, an older, wrinklier, less-funny version of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, will do what the others haven’t: point at a cartoon cucumber and say, “Show me God! Where is he? Huh? Huh? I win!”

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Heel Turn on Sarah Silverman

I’ve been a Sarah Silverman fan for many years, since her days on Saturday Night Live and her guest spots on The Larry Sanders Show. When friends have said to me – and they have - , “You only think she’s funny because she’s hot,” or “You only think she’s hot because she’s funny,” I have always argued that she’s both no matter how impossible the combination sounds.

I just read her book Bedwetter, which, for more than one reason, is an appropriate title. It’s a very funny book. Silverman claims to have been a bed wetter into her teens. True or not, it’s undoubtedly sexy, but that’s not what I want to talk about here.

The book went downhill for me when she started talking about her battle with Guy Aoki, the head of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, after she used the term “chink” on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. First of all, talk about holding a grudge for nine years. This happened in 2001. Mohammed Atta ruined everyone’s day since then and not a word is written about him. She printed the entire e-mail she sent to Aoki after the shit hit the fan and included excerpts from when the two were on that idiot Bill Maher’s show. Then she goes into similar controversies she found herself in over Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, which is not as interesting and, in fact, you wonder who the victim really is – Aoki, Hilton, Spears, or poor little Sarah herself.

Silverman goes on to say that Aoki would have been right at home anywhere from the 1930s, when The Amos & Andy Show was popular, to the 70s, when All in the Family was the top show. She says this because today racial comments are much more subtle, both when made by ingenious liberal comics like, say David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, and Silverman herself, and by the conservative right.

Now, I’m not one of these “Shut up and Sing” guys. Actually, I am. Whether you’re Bruce Springsteen or Ted Nugent, just sing the stupid song. What I am not against – as someone who is a huge fan of comedy – is comics getting on their political soapboxes. Whether it’s liberals like the afore-mentioned comics, or Margaret Cho or Marc Maron, or whomever, or right-leaning comedians such as Nick Dipaolo, Colin Quinn, or Jim Norton, say whatever you want, just be funny. I didn’t agree with everything George Carlin said, but he was a genius when saying it.

What I did not like about Bedwetter is Silverman going from playing the poor victim to playing big sister white person by labeling all available conservative outlets as racist. She says the right’s racism is just as hidden as the jokey ha-ha racism. The right doesn’t come out and say “nigger” or that the Ku Klux Klan is great, but they have “tea parties” and call Barack Obama a “socialist” and a “Nazi.”

I like to believe that Silverman is smart enough to know that Obama could be a white redneck from Mississippi, but if he had what conservatives see as a leftist agenda they would still protest him. It’s very easy to label the tea party people as racists. That’s the ticket the liberals won with an Obama victory: carte blanche to call every Obama opponent a filthy racist. If you’re anti-Clinton you’re a Republican towing the party line. If you’re anti-Obama, you’re a disgusting bigot.

God, is that simplistic thinking.

As for the term “Nazi,” Democrats spent eight years calling George W. Bush a Nazi. It was all good fun then. Frankly the term has been beaten to death by both sides. Maybe we can thank Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi for that, I don’t know. All I know is when conservatives do it and the alleged Nazi is black, it’s racist, albeit ironically so.

And socialism? Do liberals believe that conservatives think all blacks are socialists? How are any of these terms – socialist, communist, or Nazi – a substitute for “nigger?”

Silverman goes on to say that the entirety of Fox News’s programming, top to bottom, is racist. I guess, compared to the Jesse Jackson ass-kissing I’ve seen fellow bedwetting liberal Keith Olberman do on MSNBC, anything can be construed as racist. God, it must be so fun for liberals to point the racist finger.

Finally, Silverman has a go at Lou Dobbs for going off on “immigrants” instead of “filthy Mexicans.” First of all, Dobbs went off on illegal immigrants. Why does this not sink in with the left? The immigrant part is fine. As the libs like to point out, we’re all singing “The Immigrant Song” here. It’s the illegal part that might be a little not so good.

If I went to see Silverman perform her stand-up would I get in without a ticket? Wouldn’t I have to show the proper paperwork to get in? Otherwise I’m in the building what? Illegally. You guessed it. Give yourself a bell.

So, yes, Silverman’s soapbox juxtaposed with her battle with Guy Aoki completely ruined Bedwetter for me. If she had written one word about Don Imus and “nappy headed hoes” I’d have burned this stupid book and not given my library thirty bucks to replace it.