Sunday, July 11, 2010

Selected Readings from the Past

The following are some of my lil' pieces still floating out there in Webland, not including the countless items I wrote for Up My Own Ass,, and currently on

* Having once written for the delightful 'zine, these are links to three of the stories I wrote for them. The first is about the film The Neverending Story; the second about the Boston Celtics' 2008 championship; the second about the 2008 presidential election.

* This is something I wrote about gay marriage. A shorter version of it got me a brief gig writing for The Tucson Citizen.

* This I happy to have published on Yankee Pot Roastt. That was cool. Though I'm not a pleased at my attacking of the right when the left is just as bad, if not worse.

* Thus this piece attacking atheism.“you-say-‘new-atheism’-i-say-‘atheist-chic’-let’s-call-the-christians-fools”-by-michael-frissore/

* This is one of my personal favorites. And I got paid for it! $15! It's about the song "Dangerous" by Roxette.

* A humor piece about wedding themes on Feathertale.

* I still cannot believe that SNReview rejected my story "Dead Wrestlers Society," which you can link to on the right on, but accepted this piece called "Three Events." It must have been the humor because DWS, while not funny, I think was much better written.

Lastly, a piece I should really bury and forget about, but I still think it's funny.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Barnyard Slam
By Dian Curtis Regan

Anyone who’s ever been to a poetry reading knows they stink like a petting zoo: a bunch of wiseacres crying about their lost loves, or something political or their homework.

Ergo, Barnyard Slam, the hacky children’s book by Dian Curtis Regan, illustrated by Paul Meisel.

You might call Barnyard Slam the anti-Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup as it takes two horrendous things – poetry and barnyards – and attempts to cram them together like two lonely, undateable losers you know from work and your awful book club.

The premise of Barnyard Slam is extraordinary. When the farmer and his son are away Yo Mama Goose (Get it?) organizes a poetry slam for all the other animals. From the goose’s name you already know you’re in for one outrageous read.

Every possible farm animal joke and pun is shoehorned into the book. The animals ought to have Vlasic pickles in their mouths with the corny lines that come out of them.

For example, Yo Mama says, “I don’t like ducks. What a bunch of quacks.” Oh, that goose and duck just can never get along.

That Regan hasn’t been sued by the estates of Shari Lewis and Dr. Seuss itself is a triumph. The former because the horse (whose poem is titled “Hay!”) is cleverly named Charley Horse (and is always limping – Yo Mama even says, “Hope that leg cramp of yours is better.” LOL!)

The lamb in the barn’s poem is called “Lamb I Am.” The ensuing banter is absolute hilarity:

“Excellent!” Goose beams. “I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth that Lamb wrote this poem in only two shakes of his tail.”

“Well, I thought Lamb chopped,” Ducks sniffs. “Can we please stop horsing around?”

“Did someone call me?” asks Charley Horse. “Did my poem win?”

“Nooooooo!” chorus the animals.

It reads like an uncomfortable sketch from Hee-Haw or even The Muppet Show – and where is Fozzie Bear when you need him?

Kids adore animals. So a children’s book with four-legged creatures as the S.S. during World War II would probably work to some degree. Barnyard Slam, however, gave me a headache.

A far superior barnyard book, for children and adults alike, is Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Paulette Bogan. I won’t go into a whole review or the storyline simply because the other book has exhausted me. But in barnyard terms, you catch far more flies with salsa than you do with poetry.