Sunday, April 28, 2013

Praise for Puppet Shows

Praise for Puppet Shows 
by Michael Frissore 

The stories in (Puppet Shows) are all randomly odd and bizarre. There is no whatsoever logic in it and strangely enough, you don't really need logic while reading this book. This in itself is what sets this book apart from all others. It ventures into the weird, the funny and sometimes, the gruesomely insane…Puppet Shows is like a brave foray into a well-defined territory in an attempt to bring something different, and indeed, this book really brings something entirely different!” – Dia Pelaez, Book Junkie Joint, 

“These are the short stories that you would read to your teenage kid before bed…and the type of stories that you would read to just have a bit of a laugh once in a while. You could pick the book up, read a story, and it will brighten your day with its indirect humor. It's brilliant for spontaneous reading.”  

“Frissore has managed to create a very unusual collection of short stories indeed. Full of the imaginative and bizarre and just plain ridiculous and yet, he somehow pulls it all off and it just works. Go into this with the expectation of having some fun and keep your mind open and you will truly be taken on a magical ride where anything is possible and almost everything happens.”  
- Ali, My Guilty Obsession, 

“A fun collection of crazy short stories. They are very well-written and entertaining, if a little out-there. Read this if you have a good sense of humor and an appreciation for the ridiculous.”  
Brinda, WiLoveBooks, 

Only a mind that has somehow slipped the mold of what we deem normal could create such a deliciously twisted collection of ideas and combine them into this treat for the mind.” – Jeanette Kempton, Author of the Karynja series 

“This is not mainstream fiction. It’s not mainstream anything. This guy is weird, and the stories he tells are every bit as bizarre. But from page 1, they’re fun. The stories are so far off the wall they’re in the garden somewhere.  

Frissore should be praised for more than just his sense of humour though. There’s an incredibly fluent turn of phrase here; you can hear every word smoothly, without effort. The language is spare in places, but often lively and always interesting. It’s conversational, but if that conversation was being held by the two sharpest, wittiest people you know (who also happen to be loony tunes).  

I don’t know if Frissore bangs this stuff out without sweat, or if he agonises over each syllable, but the effect is prose that’s as rewarding to read as it is funny 

It’s a difficult plate to spin though, creating something both worthwhile and absurd. And in many of these stories, Frissore nails it. One or two heart strings are even plucked subtly, with a three word flash of emotion dropped in amongst a chaotic tale.  

But let’s not take for granted the most important point - the funny. Every story amused me, and all of them were cut off at just about the right time. .. Frissore reaffirmed my belief that such whimsy (that’s right, I used the word whimsy, what of it?), screams loudest and most perfectly in rich, short bursts.” 

- Gav’s Book Reviews, 

"This was a nice side step from my normal genres that normally lack a lot of humor.
The stories did make me "lol," which was great. I kept wanting to know what silly
thing would happen next. And as a writer myself, I appreciated the fact that Frissore
poured his weird and boundless imagination onto the pages of this book seemingly
without holding back. Even his character names were hilarious."

"This is a great read for someone who just needs to relax and shed their
'taking life too seriously' skin. The stories were well written and nicely compiled."

"Buy it. Read it. Laugh a lot, and be grateful there are writers out there who can
create this type of material."

Neesha from Novellarella

Puppet Shows 
Stories by Michael Frissore 
Writers AMuse Me Publishing

Monday, April 8, 2013

Attack of the Twitter Atheists!

I’ve never had a problem with atheism per se. My two best friends in college were atheists; two of the groomsmen in my wedding were atheists (one in each pair was the same guy). We never preached at or mocked each other unless it was recognized as in good fun. We never threw faith or non-faith in each other’s faces.

This is kind of what I used to see atheism as. Just “I don’t believe. You do? Well good for you.”

It’s changed in the last six years.

I’ve written about atheism a few times since early 2008, and have followed the atheist hashtags on Twitter off and on for nearly two years. I’ve even argued with atheists on Twitter, and I would never have done this if not for the multitude of atheist chic soldiers out there, especially on Twitter. I don’t know that there is any hashtag out there that never trends, yet is always good for at least a mention per minute the way #atheism or #atheist are. Atheists love Twitter, probably for its anonymity.

Oh, you’re not anonymous to God, you silly geese.

Atheists troll Twitter both for Christians who hashtag atheism, and those who mention Jesus, simply to swarm upon them and scoff with clever “Prove to me there’s a God” comments. They’ve done this online, in general, at least since 2009, when I wrote something about the debaptisms that college atheists were having. They swarmed on me by the dozens, seemingly never noticing that the site, at the time, was called “Up My Own Ass.” Man, I had fun with that.

Atheism has reigned over Twitter for quite some time, just as the prophets Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins foretold. Actually, the true atheist prophet on Twitter is former comedian-turned-atheist preacher Ricky Gervais. Visit Gervais’s Twitter page at any given moment and see him mock Christians like other hacks used to mock airline food.

With Gervais, once perhaps the funny comedian there was, atheism isn’t just non-belief. It’s an obsession. I’ve collected a sampling of his tweets just from the first week of April 2013.

Let’s begin with the popular weekly Twitter occasion #FollowFriday, or #FF, which Gervais, a celebrity with over four million followers, happily partakes in to celebrate the joys of atheism!

@rickygervais: #ff @RichardDawkins @TheTweetOfGod @SamHarrisOrg @GSpellchecker @adrianbriggs @MrOzAtheist @ProfBrianCox @Atheistican The A Team

The A Team!
Imagine being a nobody deemed a somebody by Gervais or Dawkins simply because you don’t believe in a higher being and choose to openly mock those who do. What a great deal! Almost makes me want to convert myself!

Here is a selection of other Gervais tweets between April 1 and 7, 2013:

“@rickygervais: “@Jesusontwittorr: I'll be honest, for the first 3 hours of my crucifixion I thought I was being Punk'd”


It’s not really funny, but they have atheism in common. So that gets a “Haha.”

“@rickygervais: Happy Sun Day.
Hope you are happy and secure enough in your beliefs to not care what others think of them. & Laugh. It's good for you :)”

This is Gervais’s excuse to continue the relentless bashing of Christians.
By the way, Sun day? Smiley face?

@rickygervais: "If there's no God why don't you just steal and murder as much as you want?"

I do.

Gervais doesn’t attribute this quote to anyone in particular, leaving me to believe that no one actually said or typed this. Still, a hilarious reply, nonetheless! I think he married the guy!

@rickygervais: #ff @fabulousanimals @wspauk @TigerTimeNow @AnimalsAsia
Whether you believe in evolution or magic, be nice to animals :)

Even his animal activism is coupled with atheism. By the way, odd that it’s Science that tests everything on these poor animals. They don’t test holy water in a cat’s eyes at church! Go, Science! By the way, there’s that smiley face again. He’s like a 13-year-old girl.

@rickygervais: @RichardDawkins
Quite. Some really don't understand it, which is sad. Some, however, are wilfully ignorant as it threatens their agenda.

Faith is merely an “agenda.” Hey, notice he misspelled “willfully!”

@rickygervais: DNA & Carbon dating shows that we evolved with all life over billions of years.

Bible says God created us from dust and ribs.

I'm torn.

Yawn. He can’t be the first person to point this out, can he?

@rickygervais: “@tomtomward18: My feed is filled up with @rickygervais arguing about religion”

Who's mentioned religion today? I've been tweeting science.

Get it? Dr. Gervais is blinding us with science!

@rickygervais: If you discovered ANY evidence for the existence of God, you would be proclaimed, BY THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY, the greatest genius ever. Go!Ooh, the “proof” argument. Impossible, and the atheists count on that.

@rickygervais: “@Atheistican: a selfish goal of this account is to get @rickygervais as a follower. #FingersCrossed”

Your prayers have been answered.

Take atheism away from this guy and he’s the most useless gnat Gervais will ever come in pseudo-contact with. Also, get it? He said “prayers!”

@rickygervais: "Why don't you believe in God?"

For exactly the same reasons that you don't believe in Zeus.

LOL! Somewhere Tommy “Tiny” Lister weeps.

@rickygervais: Evolution gets a big thumbs up from me.

Right in my own keister. This quote must have been on a bumper sticker.

@rickygervais: "Why are you an atheist?"

I'm as God made me.
(He makes Gay people and Hindus too. Versatile.)
I don’t think atheism has been the least bit funny since George Carlin did these bits 20 years ago. By the way, are we capitalizing “Gay” now?

@rickygervais: "Jesus was a Christian not a Jew dumbass"

This is my best day ever on Twitter.
Again, unattributed. No one said this.

@rickygervais: "You only ever mock Jesus. Why don't you mock Jews?"

This Tweet is why I love Twitter.
See above. Though I would ask him the same about Muslims.

@rickygervais: "Scients is just an Athiest theory"

I want to give this tweet the Nobel prize.

Again, “Prize” should also be capitalized, Richard.

@rickygervais: Favourite if you're clinging to the irrational hope of an afterlife,
or RT if you're going to try to make the most of this guaranteed one.
Make the most of this life by being on Twitter all the time.

@rickygervais: "Guys, guys, that dude we killed Friday is up and about again......
nah, April Fools!...haha..your faces."

Wow! And we get all this humor from him for free!

Gervais will even happily retweet a fellow atheist. Just in the first week of April he retweeted the likes of @Jesusontwitter @GSpellchecker (“Godless Spellchecker”), @TheTweetofGod and @Atheist_Tweeter. Plus the very lucky @CiaraBaxendale, who tweeted:
“@Gervatheism I converted my philosophy teacher to Gervatheism. She wrote this in my report @rickygervais !!

The cleverness just astounds!

I’m going to come out and admit something, and it’s something I’m sure all atheists already know, including Dawkins, plus Gervais, Bill Maher, Penn Gillette, and any other comedian who gave up comedy for atheism – Yours is an argument that is impossible to lose!

Atheists can say whatever hateful things they want to. They can mock, call Christians stupid, stone them, for Hitchen’s sake. If Christians retaliate, even in the least, the atheist can just say, “Aren’t you supposed to turn the other cheek?” It’s flawless! And the only possible way for a Christian to win an argument with an atheist is to produce God! As if He works down the street at the local Starbucks and will be right here after He punches out for the day. It’s the perfect stance! Being pro-cancer is an easier argument than defending your belief in God to an atheist. How can a human being possibly obtain proof of a supreme one? That’s why it’s called faith! They’re playing with House money!

Christianity, and Catholicism in particular, is the easiest target there is. Ask Gervais and Maher. They’re still relevant because of it. Making fun of faith is as easy as mocking people with special needs. Yet it’s totally tolerated! Which makes it even easier! By the way, the joke here is no doubt that I’m comparing Christians to people with special needs (Which I’m not.) Gervais himself has gotten some flack for making fun of special people. He goes after all the easy targets: Christians, the obese, those with special needs, and people who hurt cute animals. I wonder what Ricky thinks of obese animals?

I literally lost all respect for Gervais as a comic. He’s no better than Gary Coleman now. Arnold had “What you talkin’ ‘bout, Willis.” Gervais has “There’s no God.”

But what can we expect? He’s fifty-one years old and still calls himself “Ricky.”

It’s actually a very simpleminded attitude to say no way is there a God, then go on to preach this idea. It’s one thing to simply not believe, go about your day, and tweet about bacon and Game of Thrones. That I can respect. But to come off as a “free thinker,” and proudly label yourself an atheist, like it’s a scarlet letter, or even a PhD, is pure buffoonery, let alone arrogance. By the way, these “free thinkers” aren’t doing anything but following the road paved by Hitchens and Dawkins, and the fork in said road made by Gervais. They are all merely sheep. Even Gervais is a Dawkins sheep. I don’t recall any atheism gags in The Office.

I have more respect for the Beliebers and One Directioners of Twitter. At least they waste their time on something they do like and believe in. All atheists believe in is attacking #TeamJesus and worshipping their own imagined superiority over Christians. And this includes Gervais and Dawkins. Tweet about how there’s no afterlife and that Christians are wasting their lives; yet, all these atheists tweet about is the same topic, literally minute after minute in many cases. It must be a miserable existence. I mean if ignorance is bliss, imagine the hell (If it existed, tee hee) these intelligent atheists are in.

If I were to paint all Twitter atheists with the same brush, like they do with Christians, I would not only say that they all came out of the woodwork/closet once Hitchens and Dawkins became successful with their respective books, but they crave the attention they see “other” minorities getting.

The homosexual community has gay marriage, something that’s only been a thing since the turn of the century, but it’s something to fight for and celebrate. With Barack Obama’s victory in 2008, the African-American community has had something to celebrate themselves. Both minorities have actual oppression in their past, and present.

What are straight, American white men and women to do? If they’re not Christians, they “come out of the closet” as non-believers, long persecuted by the evil Christians. Paint Christians as bigots spreading fear with their “God is watching you” nonsense, and suddenly atheists are a minority much like the others are. Punching an atheist at a bar might soon be a hate crime.

Mommy doesn’t love me and my grandparents say I’m a sinner. I’ll show them!

Unlike homosexuals and African-Americans, however, some atheists have grown to become bullies. Thus, the minority sentiment has given way to mockery at the expense of Christians. The imagined persecuted have become the pseudo-persecutors. And don’t they love it? Thank you, Twitter!

Many Christians go to Bible studies, have church events, and do some type of service either for their community or outside of the country. All atheists do, as far as I can see, is get together and mock Christians. Yes, you’re doing a wonderful service by mocking me and my beliefs. But atheists get away with it because Christians have allegedly been keeping minorities down for thousands of years.

Everything bad is religion’s fault. Religion is the evil in the world. Never mind that this imaginary Tooth Fairy-like creature, or at least the idea of Him, helps many, many people who are down and out. Screw ‘em, the week-minded assholes. These geniuses, the “free thinkers,” who claim to be so much more intelligent than the easy-mark Christians because they are certainly not stupid enough to fall for something like “faith,” are essentially bullies.

I feel sorry for them. Not because they don’t believe in God. Who cares? Do what you want. Death bed confession, that’s what you can turn to. I feel sorry for them because, while they like to say they’re living life rather than burying themselves in this God nonsense, all they have is their hatred for Christians, wherever it comes from: Mommy and Daddy not showing them enough love; Father O’Leary patting them on the head when they were six; their cat dying. Who knows? They call it “Logic” that they were blessed with. Sorry, not blessed. Graced. No. I mean, they were just born with “Logic.” But it has to be something more. Something just isn’t there. There’s a hole inside them that they fill with the mockery of those they feel oppressed them somehow.

Sure religion can cause pain: terrorism, childhood innocence lost, Pat the Bible Study lady stealing pocket change from the collection plate. But there is plenty of good there as well. Atheists don’t choose to see it. There’s no room in the hole for the good. The approval they need from Ricky Gervais goes in this hole.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Humor, You Subjective Bastard!

I don’t know how many non-writers ever go onto and read reviews. More people use Amazon, certainly, but GoodReads is a popular site, at least among writers. As of right now my wonderfully funny book Puppet Shows has five reviews on GoodReads (six on Amazon) and 10 ratings (current combined rating is 4.1 out of 5). This kind of sucks because I’d at least like to have one or two sentence reviews for those five extra ratings just to somewhat prove the person read it rather than just saying, “Here’s a four or five star rating. Now go screw.”

There is one “2 of 5 star” rating that just went up on GoodReads, thus far with no review in site. I don’t know whether I can expect one, or if the reviewer just said, “Screw this.” But I would certainly like to know what it was this person didn’t like, specifically, if possible. I’m not going to email her and ask. She agreed to read the book and didn’t promise a review, and I’m not going to nag anyone.  The thing about humor, though, and I’ll beat this point to death for the rest of my writing life, is that it’s much more subjective than any other genre of anything, be it literature, film or sponge bath.

Oh, if you’ve never seen a good comedic sponge bath, you’re missing out, buster!

So I thought of a couple of movies I really liked from back in the days when I was film-obsessed. My reasoning for going back this far (1999 and 2001, respectively) is because I saw everything back then. I was a movie junkie. The last ten years I’ve been more or less out of the loop with movies, comedy or otherwise. I stopped buying DVDs. The only movie I’ve seen in a theater in the last five years because I wanted to see it was The Wrestler.

Anyway, the first movie is Drop Dead Gorgeous, a film written by a gal named Lona Williams. What else did she write? I have no clue. Her Wikipedia page is very short. Michael Patrick Jann directed it, and he also directed episodes of The State, Reno 911!, and Little Britain. The film has practically an all-female cast, including Kirstie Alley, Ellen Barkin, Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, the late Brittany Murphy, and a lovely newcomer named Amy Adams.

What I remember most about Drop Dead Gorgeous is that a friend of mine said to me after he saw it, “If someone had told me you wrote this, I’d believe them.” That was a huge compliment because this is a hilarious movie, one of the funniest films of the last 20, 25, even 30 years, as far as I’m concerned. However, the Rotten Tomatoes rating on DDG is 45% from critics, 65% from the audience. And let me tell you, these people are jerks that didn’t like this movie. I would never see a film recommended by anyone who didn’t enjoy DDG. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a mockumentary about teen beauty pageants, a la the Christopher Guest films, but to me it beats the shit out of any Guest film because of its pure offensiveness, which, obviously, is what 55% percent of critics and 35% of the audience probably didn’t care for. I know many people who wouldn’t like DDG and guess what? They probably wouldn’t like my book either.

The second film is Not Another Teen Movie, which was directed by Joel Gallen, who has directed at least ten of the Comedy Central roasts. It was penned by a team of writers, none of any note. I know there has since been a sequel to NATM, which I haven’t seen. I just don’t want to ruin the memory of the first film for myself. It’s of course a parody of the teen movies that were so popular in the mid-to-late 90s. In my mind it ranks right up there with the Airplane! and Naked Gun series of films, and even surpasses them.

Yet, NATM receives just a 28% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with a pittance of 60% from the average Joe audience. Rotten bastards, is what I say!

I can’t possibly do either of these films justice by describing them. I’m just making a point here, or perhaps I’m not. And just to make myself a little current, I have seen some of the popular comedies to come out in the last few years: Horrible Bosses, Bridesmaids, many of the Judd Apatow films. None of them have left the impression on me that these two films did. And the reason I’m using films as a measuring stick versus books is because people don’t read, and many people who do read don’t have much of a sense of humor. Oh, and screw Christopher Moore. That’s all I’ll say. Maybe I’ll tell that story in the future.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is that I don’t fear bad reviews. Some will like Puppet Shows, others won’t. I just wouldn’t want to hang out with the ones who don’t. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. I had a cast member of the British sitcom The Young Ones tell me that Puppet Shows was too absurd. And that’s pretty fucking absurd if you’ve ever seen The Young Ones.

So this isn’t sour grapes. I just want to update my blog at least semi-regularly, even if no one reads it, which appears to be the case. I think in fifty years when my next book is ready, I’ll do a whole new web site. Screw this Blogspot business.

Monday, April 1, 2013

LOL! and OMG! Another Puppet Shows review! From Australia!

I can’t say exactly what it is about the more negative reviews of Puppet Shows that make me smile. I think it’s the reasons the reviewer didn’t care for it. I also think it’s my wife’s telling me for years that I need to write a little more seriously sometimes proves right. It may also be that these reviewers call me brave, like a firefighter or a little toaster.

Take Booklover Book Reviews, for instance. This review makes me happy. Is it glowing? Surely not. Is it bad? Not necessarily. Finding book reviewers who welcome absurdist humor with arms wide open has proven very difficult. Thank you, again, Gav.

You just can’t write absurdist humor for someone who gets a kick out of America’s Funniest Home Videos. It will not translate.  I don’t begrudge anyone the enjoyment of this program or programs like it. I like cats being cute and men being hit in the nuts as much as anyone.

But let’s get to my favorite quote, and really the only reason I’m posting this:

a characters belligerent racism did not tickle my funny bone.”

This may further turn potential readers off, but she could have been more specific. Oh, I’m kidding. I mean, there is a monkey who is slightly racist towards Italians in my story “Heckle.” I don’t think it’s that one she means because a.) It’s a cute little monkey saying that stuff, and b.) Italians are fair game. They don’t really have an anti-hate group. Oh, and c.) I’m Italian. So it’s okay.

I’m pretty sure she means Grandpa in “Grandpa & Me,” who enters a Chinese restaurant and uses every hack Chinese bit imaginable. 

LOL. While I’m almost positive that if Grandpa had been making fun of Jesus at a church it would have been hilarious, even the most innocent of racism hurts.

So anyway, she gave my wife credit and included my book trailer. So I can’t complain. Plus, she included a link to a much more positive review, as well as the great Amazon ones. It’s all good, even if she only read four of the stories, robbing herself of Root Beer Float Man and the Sockdolagers. Still, I am very happy that they reviewed and at least attempted to read my lil book.