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1. Life imitates art

On occasion during our run of the mill existence here on planet earth, life imitates art. This was the case during a recent visit from a plumber to unblock a bathroom drain. The visit was routine but there came a point during a conversation that seemed straight out of my play, “Gin: an Allegory for Playing the Game of Life.” You know how it is – that Twilight Zone/déjà vu feeling we’ve all experienced at some point where a conversation seems familiar and you’re not sure if you’ve heard it before.  

Here is the scene from the play where Lyle, the super, arrives to address the blocked sink of Becky, the main character and the cynic. SARAH, another character is one of those people who always sees the good in everyone and everything. I cut and pasted parts so the formatting isn't ideal. This is one of my favorite plays but then that's what I say about all of them.


                         BECKY opens the door to LYLE, the super, who is leaning on
                         the side of the door, engrossed in music coming out of earphones.
                         His dress is grunge with long stringy hair and grimy
                         clothes

BECKY

Well, well. Look who the wind blew in. Hello up there? Anybody home?

                         BECKY taps him on the shoulder and he jumps in response

Forgive me but you do remember why you're here? To unblock my pipes? Lyle super - me tenant?

LYLE
I know that

BECKY
Of course you do and I'm Madonna

LYLE
Hey – and they tol’ me your name was Becky Bitch. Oh… I see. Becky Bitch Madonna!

                         LYLE pushes Becky aside

Okay…what and where's the problem?

BECKY
You for a start but I gotta take what I can get. My sink has been blocked since last week

LYLE
Okay… hold it a sec…this is a good part

                         Lyle starts gyrating and playing an invisible guitar

BECKY
My God – the kid has overdosed on drugs right here in my apartment. Call 911

LYLE
(stops abruptly)
That was the best part of the CD. Bet'chu wash your hair in this sink, don't you

BECKY
And your point is? Most normal people wash their hair, Lyle, but there are exceptions, like you for example

LYLE
Ladies your age never wanna admit it but we supers know better. If I had a dollar for every time I've unblocked a sink and removed a big blob of the stuff, I’d be a gazillionaire. Wait a sec’…

                         LYLE begins gyrating

BECKY
I hope I'm not disturbing your musical interludes or anything. Listen, there's no way, my hair, blocked that drain. Maybe you don't clean the pipes often enough, did that occur to you? So? Fix it. Hello? Lyle!

LYLE

This band is like… fab-u-lo-so… We'll try chemicals first and if that don't work, we'll use the snake

BECKY
You're gonna use strong chemicals in my sink? Come to think of it, you're probably no stranger to chemical mixes

SARAH
OhmyGod! They use poor defenseless snakes to clean out drains, now? But I'm sure you use the non-poisonous type, right? Do the animal welfare people know about this?

BECKY

Sarah dear, count your cards or something. Just do what you have to do and unblock it?

LYLE
Got some news you won't wanna hear, lady

BECKY
If it means you're quitting your job after unblocking my sink, it's good

LYLE
I'm wrong about the blockage

BECKY
Told you it wasn't hair. I'm not a plumber and even I knew as much

LYLE
It's deep down in the main pipe system, under the sink

BECKY
And this means that…

LYLE
…it's gonna cost. Might hav'ta call in a plumber

BECKY
Can't youfix it? What are they paying you for?

LYLE
I'll try but I ain't making no promises. I'm gonna go look for my tools, downstairs. Whoever you get to do the job will take a half a day, at least. Maybe more

BECKY

This is really good. A handyman with no tools


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2. Book Review-Last God Standing by Michael Boatman

Title: Last God Standing
 Author: Michael Boatman
Series: First in series.  
Published:  April 3 2014 by Angry Robot
Length: 400 pages
Source Publishers:
Other info: Book 2, Who Wants to be the Prince of Darkness comes Spring 2015
Summary : When God decides to quit and join the human race to see what all the fuss is about, all Hell breaks loose.Sensing his abdication, the other defunct gods of Earth’s vanquished pantheons want a piece of the action He abandoned.Meanwhile, the newly-humanised deity must discover the whereabouts and intentions of the similarly reincarnated Lucifer, and block the ascension of a murderous new God.How is he ever going to make it as a stand-up comedian with all of this going on…?

Review:  Yahweh, aka the Abrahamic god, has decided he's had enough of being God.  Therefore, he quits, joins the Human Race and tries to live life as a stand-up comic. However, with gods of old pantheons trying to take his place, and a now-human Lucifer to deal with, this isn't going to be easy.
I was really looking forwards to this. Multiple pantheons, all the myths, all wrapped up with a big dose of comedy? Right up my street.
It starts off well. The dramatis personae sets up an interesting c premise, featuring my favourite gods from various mythologies, plus a few more I was less familiar with.
Lando has a good voice. I liked him and his comedy could be good if it wasn't wrapped up in a whole load of other stuff. I also liked Yuri, Lando's family, and Suhrabi. I love the way the gods are presented-Zeus and the Morrigan especially.
The thing that let it down most was the plot, and the way it just went ways I don't really get. The bit with Hannibal got good at the start, then relaxed a bit earlier than I  was expecting. The whole thing with Lucifer, Gabriel and the angels was very predictable, but turned out well. But then there's this whole bit in the middle where I think Lando swaps bodies or something with another guy. I say I think. I honestly don't know what happened there, but it changed Lando for the last quarter of the book. Also, the god battles, while fun, were also a bit confusing in that they went everywhere in time and space and were hard to follow.
Also, I didn't get the comedy that I was promised, apart from in small bits ie  introduction of the gods. Or maybe it just wasn't my kind of humour. Either way, sadness from that. 
Despite this, I will read book two. Just because  Hell. And game shows.

Overall:  Strength 2 tea to a book with a really good premise that just wasn't put together as well as I was hoping.

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3. PR-Viz to Release Ranma 1/2 in Newly Re-Mastered 2-In-1 Manga Format

{ED – And this, folks, is the series that started it all for me.  If you enjoy comedy, martial arts, and gender-bending hijinks, give it a spin.  Just prep at for a long ride, because this manga ran forever!} 

VIZ MEDIA INVITES FANS TO CATCH THE EXCITING RETURN OF RANMA ½ IN A BRAND NEW OMNIBUS MANGA EDITION

Creator Rumiko Takahashi’s Groundbreaking

Gender-Bending Martial Arts Comedy Returns To North America In A Newly Re-Mastered 2-In-1 Manga Format

San Francisco, CA, February 28, 2014 – The wait is almost over as VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, announces next month’s exciting release of Rumiko Takahashi’s adored manga (graphic novel) series – RANMA ½ – as newly re-mastered 2-in-1 omnibus editions. The opening volume debuts on March 11th, presented for the first time ever in a right-to-left reading format that remains faithful to the original work. RANMA ½ is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and will carry a MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN.

Ranma Saotome never thought a martial arts training mission to China would turn out like this! Due to an unfortunate accident at the cursed Chinese training ground Jusenkyo, when Ranma and his father get splashed with cold water, papa turns into a giant panda and male Ranma becomes a buxom young woman! Hot water reverses the effect, but only until the next time! Constantly chased by battle-happy martial artists and lovesick suitors of both sexes, what’s a half-boy, half-girl martial artist to do?

“RANMA ½ was one of the first manga series to achieve massive international success, and became a staple of the VIZ Media catalog for over 14 years, making it one of our longest-running titles and one of the longest-running manga series in North America,” says Hope Donovan, Editor. “The return of RANMA ½ in a new 2-in-1 omnibus is an ideal format to revisit the series or enjoy it for the very first time and will allow fans to appreciate Rumiko Takahashi’s classic romantic comedy action series in a whole new way!”

The spotlight on Rumiko Takahashi’s career began in 1978 when she won an honorable mention in Shogakukan’s prestigious New Comic Artist Contest for Those Selfish Aliens. Later that same year, her boy-meets-alien comedy series, Urusei Yatsura, was serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday. This phenomenally successful manga series was adapted into anime format and spawned a TV series and half a dozen theatrical-release movies, all incredibly popular in their own right. Takahashi followed up the success of her debut series with one blockbuster hit after another— Maison Ikkoku ran from 1980 to 1987, Ranma 1/2 from 1987 to 1996, and Inuyasha from 1996 to 2008. Other notable works include Mermaid Saga, Rumic Theater, One-Pound Gospel, and RIN-NE (all also published in North America by VIZ Media).

Takahashi won the Shogakukan Manga Award twice in her career, once for Urusei Yatsura in 1981 and the second time for Inuyasha in 2002. A majority of the Takahashi canon has been adapted into other media such as anime, live-action TV series, and film. Takahashi’s manga, as well as the other formats her work has been adapted into, have continued to delight generations of fans around the world. Distinguished by her wonderfully endearing characters, Takahashi’s work adeptly incorporates a wide variety of elements such as comedy, romance, fantasy, and martial arts. While her series are difficult to pin down into one simple genre, the signature style she has created has come to be known as the “Rumic World.” Rumiko Takahashi is an artist who truly represents the very best from the world of manga.

For more information on RANMA ½ and Rumiko Takahashi titles published by VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.

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4. Imploding

The newest offering of the Defective Amish Detective is available now! You can get Vol 6: The Sausage Log Implosion on Kindle here: http://amz.to/11MckpP


I have to say this whole experience has been a lot of fun. When Giovanni approached me about this series, I was a little hesitant. I have always known him to have an outrageous sense of humor and I knew the Amish were handled with a great deal of respect. I did not know how we would blend the two.

What came out of it was a story with lots of heart and its own kind of zaniness. I think we manage to show the proper amount of respect to the Amish. Much of the slapstick falls on the Defective Detective, who is not Amish. What is he? Something of a repentant hitman. Both of our main characters have mysterious pasts that give them unique skills to handle the cozy mysteries we throw at them.

In the end, this series is about friendship and understanding. It is about two men coming from two different worlds and overcoming their differences to work together for the greater good. It is a pleasure to write and I hope you have as much fun reading it!

About The Sausage Log Implosion“Muck is Muck,” Eli the Blacksmith says.How does the Defective Detective go from having a near perfect day to one of the worst? Simple – someone stole his sausage log. Everyone has something in life that makes them happy. For G, it is the culinary delights of the Amish, including whoopie pies and sausage logs. When his favorite market is sold out, G wants to know why. The charming, but innocent, counter girl tells him that the butcher’s meat grinder has been stolen. When something goes awry in Amish Country, G can’t let it go. He joins his stalwart companion Eli and the two of them are on the case. They have two questions to answer. What happened to the meat grinder? And, how much muck is too much muck? This is one explosive implosion!

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5. Re-thinking and re-writing. "The Lemon" could be sweet

Go figure. Here I was under the impression that the BBC International Playwriting Competition was on hold or cancelled altogether. Much to my surprise, read on Facebook to stand by since they are about to announce the details of this year's competition.

While this is great news and under the assumption that the competition was cancelled, I've been re-thinking entering "Old Soldiers" as my entry.

"After all that waiting - you're going to abandon us?" Joe would probably ask. The issue is whether or not 'soldiers would be radio-friendly due to the necessity of sound effects.

A while back, I wrote a short play entitled, "The Lemon" focusing on the trials and tribulatiion of a female owning and trying to unload her car, which as the title infers, is a "lemon." A comedy, it's a fun story line and the characters would lend themselves to radio. At present it would run about 20-30 minutes but it wouldn't be difficult to add to the story.

This week I'm going to re-examine The Lemon with a critical eye to see if and how the story can be expanded. Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the announcement of the new deadline. Progress reports to come.



0 Comments on Re-thinking and re-writing. "The Lemon" could be sweet as of 3/30/2013 12:53:00 PM
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6. Micro Review–Dog in Charge by K L Going and Dan Santat

 

 

 

 

Title:  Dog in Charge

Author: K L Going

Illustrator: Dan Santat

Publisher:  Dial

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

When the going gets tough, Dog . . . takes a nap

Dog can Sit.

He can Stay.

He can even Dance.

But when he’s in charge, can he keep the cats in line?

All one, two, three, four, five of them?

With slapstick silliness and utterly earnest charm, Dog will quickly wiggle his way into preschoolers’ hearts.

,

Review:

This is one of the best picture books that I have ever read! It is so cute!!  It even had an unsuspected twist that brought a huge smile to my face.  Poor Dog is left in charge when his people have to go out.  He is left in charge of five naughty cats.  The cats, while not devious, love to play, and Dog is having a hard time keeping tabs on all one, two, three, four, five of them.  When the tensions run the highest, and the house couldn’t get any messier, Dog succumbs to a nap to refresh himself, allowing the cats to save the day.  The cats all love Dog, which made me love them. 

If you have young readers at home, this is a fun book with big, bold illustrations that is sure to please. Even if you don’t have young readers, sneak Dog in Charge home from the library for a quick, delightful read.

Grade:  A

Review copy obtained from my local library

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7. Micro Review: Some Cat! by Mary Casanova and Ard Hoyt

 

Title: Some Cat!

Author: Mary Casanova

Illustrator: Ard Hoyt

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Violet has always imagined ruling a kingdom with sharp claws and velvet paws, so when she is adopted and goes to live with two dogs, she immediately takes over with a Meowww! Hisssss! and Spat! Poor George and Zippity try to befriend Violet, but they get nowhere. One afternoon, while her new family is out fishing, Violet is awakened by some stray dogs who chase poor Violet into a corner. Luckily, George and Zippity arrive home just in time to help.

Review:

I love Ard Hoyt’s art, and I am now a rabid fan.  Some Cat! revisits George and Zippity from Some Dog!, introducing Violet, a homeless cat, to the family.  I love the humans in both of these books.  They are patient and loving to their pets, willing to watch from the sidelines as their new family member tries to find a place for herself.  The problem is, Violet isn’t easy to get along with, and she doesn’t make things easy for herself.  She, like most cats, believes that she is royalty, and instead of trying to make friends with George and Zippity, she attempts to take charge – of everything.   She bullies her new animal companions, stealing their toys, food, and favorite sleeping spots.  She hisses at them, and she swats at them with her velvet paws, claws extended.  She is so NOT nice!  When a pack of dogs attack her, though, it is George and Yippity to the rescue.  Will Violet finally learn to play well with others?

This is a delightful story, with wonderful prose and charming illustrations that perfectly capture the mood and action of the book.  Some Cat! is sure to enchant animal lovers both young and old.

Grade:  A

Review copy provided by publisher

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8. New and Different

So Giovanni had this idea and he issued a challenge to me. The result:

The Defective Amish Detective
Volume 1
The Whoopie Pie Affair


I entered a new world with this one. The G-Man is known for his zany ideas, so together we developed a story which is unlike any other I have done. It is both hilarious and heartfelt. Giovanni's bold personality shines through, making it hard to believe he is not a fictional character. The story is crafted in such a way as to blur the line between fiction and reality. 

The events are outrageous, but the characters are honest and direct. I enjoyed building the relationship between Gio and Eli. Their connection is such that they were practically life-long friends from the moment they accidentally met.

My writing has always been Christian influenced, but this is my first big step into Amish fiction. Aside from one other WIP on the subject, I am learning a lot about the Amish. It is important to me (and Giovanni) to treat the people and their beliefs with great respect, while still having fun. I think we managed that.

The story is simple, a cozy mystery with an unlikely culprit. We may go a little more complex in future stories, but the goal is to have fun.

The Defective Amish Detective
Volume 1
The Whoopie Pie Affair

ONLY 99 Cents
For a LIMITED time!

Get it here: http://goo.gl/UuI5v



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9. Me and the G-Man

I have known Giovanni Gelati for quite some time. He's interviewed me more than once on The G-Zone BlogTalkRadio Show. We've written together (A Prince in Trenton, Seriously?). Our latest collaboration is The Defective Amish Detective - Volume 1 - The Whoopie Pie Affair. It is a humorous story, that one might call a cozy mystery. Both of us had the goal of telling a fun story, while holding the Amish with utmost respect. With the "defects" of our main character, it ended up being a story with a lot of heart.

Now for the first time, it is my turn to interview Giovanni. Some of the questions pertain to the story, so if you haven't read it, you can get it here: http://goo.gl/UuI5v

If you haven't, don't worry, there's no spoilers.


MM: How many Hawaiian shirts do you own?

GG: I have yet to buy one, I get them as gifts. As a for instance, we were cleaning up prior to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, I found 6 bags of unopened socks. In layman terms that is 60 pairs of unused socks. One may take pause now and consider that. Basically I reach in the closet, grab one and put it on. I am not sure if I have 60 of them, but I have more than I think.

MM: You have an affinity for the Amish, do you think you may join them sometime in the future? 

GG: I will reference Hurricane Sandy again. We didn’t get the devastating flooding, but we got the wind and rain, our town lost power. We were dark from Monday night to Saturday. I am not going out on a limb here when I say that I enjoy electricity. Ice cream does not taste good without it. I marveled at drinking a cold beverage again, and having the use of light when I went to use the bathroom. It is hard to read in the dark. So for now, me being Amish is not in the cards. Besides that when ones Hawaiian shirt is the brightest thing in the room, it kind of stinks.

MM: What is your favorite flavor of whoopie pie? 

GG: They have me hooked on the chocolate chip outer cookie with the chocolate cream filling. Throw in a sausage log and some deep fried or rotisserie chicken and I am set.

MM: What is your best experience with a farm animal? 

GG: None really, they smell and leave large deposits behind. I am not into the smell, feel or look of muck. I would much prefer a muckless Farm, but I doubt that is in the cards. I much more enjoy them from a distance in the SUV going the speed limit pointing them out to the kids. It is much safer that way all around.

MM: What is in store for the Defective Amish Detective in the upcoming volumes? 

GG: Volume two will be out the week of November 14th , the title is “The Intercourse Boondogle”, and it will involve grifters. Intercourse is a quaint little town in Lancaster with plenty of neat shops. The other 8 stories in the series will involve a series of mysteries that G and Eli try to solve together in various locations in and around Lancaster. 

Giovanni and I will be at the mercy of best-selling Canadian Amish author Murray Pura as he interviews both of us live on November 17th at Noon Eastern - http://www.facebook.com/events/376125555805108/

Also, to stay up-to-date, please visit and like my Author Page - http://www.facebook.com/MarkMillerAuthor



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10. eBook Giveaway

Recently, I started a new series with my friend, Giovanni. It was a relatively new experience diving into the world of Amish fiction. I did not quite know what to expect, but we ended up with something totally unique and outrageous.

The Defective Amish Detective
Volume 1
The Whoopie Pie Affair


The story is something of a cozy mystery, but also a self-deprecating comedy. We hold the Amish in high regard and treat their portrayal with kindness. But when it comes to the Defective Detective, it's no holds barred. The main character has poor eyesight, poor hearing and dresses like he raided Don Ho's wardrobe in 1983.

We are presently at work on Volume 2 - The Intercourse Boondoggle. Now before you ask if we are crossing any taboos, please know that Intercourse is the name of a town in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; the heart of Amish country.

To celebrate the upcoming release, we are doing two things. First, there will be a live interview on the G-Zone BlogTalkRadio show. Special guest host Murray Pura (best-selling author of historical & Amish fiction) has been preparing some hard-hitting questions. To hear the show live on Saturday, Nov 17th at Noon Eastern (or to listen to the archive afterward), save this link:


The second big event is the giveaway that is happening for the next 20 days, ending on December 1st. You can use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for your chance to win one or both of the first two volumes of The Defective Amish Detective.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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11. Let's Talk about Intercourse

You know, the small town in Amish Country, Lancaster PA?

What did you think I meant?

The Defective Amish Detective
Volume 2
The Intercourse Boondogle


The Defective Amish Detective is back. The Fixer with a heart of gold heads to Lancaster County for another case. His friend Eli, the Amish blacksmith with a mysterious past, spots trouble in the town of Intercourse. The name alone sends the Defective Detective on a rant. Outrageousness reigns as these two worlds collide again. Are you ready for a road trip to Amish Country?

It is a special treat to write with a friend. We have a blast putting this story out for you! It is a humorous look at the Amish, but we also make fun of our detective too. If you want something, funny, heart-warming and different, this is for you!

Available on Kindle:

Also on Nook, iTunes and Kobo


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12. Weekly Shonen Jump–January 21st Issue

Last week I was dealing with a house full of sick people (including me!) so I didn’t get a chance to read the January 14 issue of WSJA until today, so I’m just going to skip a recap of it and jump right into the January 21 issue.  This is the first issue of the simulations release with the Japanese magazine, and the magazine has been renamed Weekly Shonen Jump.  Good-bye Alpha and good-bye waiting for an English translation! 

This week’s issue is 185 pages, and introduced One-Punch Man to the line-up.  I have also discovered, much to my chagrin, that my by beloved Kenshin will only appear monthly as it is actually published in Jump Square.  Boo hoo!  But let’s put that disappointment behind us, and dive into this week’s issue of WSJ!

Naruto Chapter 616 – Nice color spread this issue and a congratulatory message from creator Masashi Kishimoto for going simultaneous!  After getting a pep talk about not letting Neji’s death be in vain, Naruto gets a second wind (or probably 4th or 5th with as long as this battle has been going on).  His chakra recharges and he quickly shares his renewed energy with the other ninja.  Yay!  We also get brave, determined declarations that he will never give up trying to save his comrades, and that despite loss and heartbreak, ninja will endure!  Very motivating!  These last two chapters have been my favorite since I have been reading the magazine, and the plot is starting to make more sense.  All of these quick battle chapters can get confusing when you just get dumped into them, and they last for, what, over 2 months now?

One-Punch Man Chapter One – New series!  Uhhhh.  Short chapter.  Saitama is a hero for fun, and he’s looking for an opponent who he can’t beat in one punch.  Uhhh…  Not sure about this one.  I like the art, but I don’t like Saitama’s character design.  He looks like a dork with an egg for a head.  This chapter was so short that I don’t think it was a good intro to the series.  Maybe next week’s chapter will knock my socks off?

One Piece Chapter 695 – Finally!  Luffy and the gang has escaped from the lab!  They are out in the fresh air and they won’t be victims of the poison gas!  Buffalo and Baby 5 scoop up Caesar and try to make a break for it, but no-uh-uh!  Usopp isn’t having any of that!  This is a quick, fun chapter with lots of great art and great poses.  I was getting bored of the lab drama, so I am looking forward to their next adventure!

Nisekoi Chapter 58 – Miyamoto has lost her glasses!  Ichijo and Onodera help her look for them, and Ruri, frustrated that they like each other, but won’t confess their feelings, tries to get them together.  Since Ichijo is so dense, her efforts don’t pay off.  Not a very original chapter, but the expressive art and the clueless Ichijo made it a fun read.

Bleach Chapter 523 -  Very cool color page get things kicked off.  Ichigo and Renji get to play with Oh-Etsu Nimaiya, the creator of Zanpaku-to!  More accurately, he gets to play with them.  He throws them in the middle of a horde of angry Asauchi, which are the ultimate Zanpaku-tos that can become anything.  They are pissed at how Ichigo and Renji have been using their Zanpaku-tos.  Quick shift to  Yachiru and Zaraki, who are facing off in the Soul Society’s underground prison.  These guys are so serious!  Someone is going to get hurt!  And then – the chapter ends!  This is a great setup for next week, and has  me re-engaged in the story.  I love Ichigo, but I am intrigued by Yachiru and want to see her and Zaraki cross swords.  I am sure it will be an epic confrontation!

Cross Manage Chapter 17 – I love this one.  The team is playing their first match, and after a motivating (more accurately, embarrassing) pep talk from Sakurai, the girls have been given the confidence to play all out!  This is a feel good series, and I have enjoyed it every week.  I keep gushing about it, but I love sports manga and wish there were more series available for me to read.  When are we going to get more Crimson Hero? 

Toriko Chapter 218 – Gourmet Corp is invading!  Their giraffe birds and other weird creatures are out for blood!  Starjun tries to make a grab for Komatsu, but Toriko is there to save him!  While this hasn’t been my favorite manga, this week’s was pretty good, probably because I wasn’t inundated with a billion new chef’s and their specialties.  The constant character intros has been driving me nuts!  Wow, I might not cringe next week when I come to the next chapter.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Chapter 26 – I just don’t get this one.  It is boring and I can’t force myself to get interested in the plot.  I like the art and the character designs, but the story itself – yawn.  I don’t get the rules of the game, and so I find myself just skimming this one every week. 

And that’s it for this week!  Next week there’s a one-shot by Akira Toriyama!

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13. Listen to Me

Okay, maybe not me (that sounds needy), but I do have something for you to listen to.



I've been working on a new series called the Defective Amish Detective. It is a humorous, without making fun, look at the misadventures of an Amish blacksmith and his Non-Amish friend. The defective detective is admittedly a repentant man with a questionable past. He has reached an age where certain parts (eyes, ears) don't work as well as they did. Through travels with his wife into Amish Country, the detective has become friends with Eli, who also happens to have a shadow over his past. Together, they work to help those that cannot help themselves. Things don't always go as expected and both of their pasts may come back to haunt them. These stories are full of slapstick, but they also share a message and have heart.

Now, it is a special treat for me to share with you that my publisher, Helping Hands Press, has taken a big leap in putting Volume 1: The Whoopie Pie Affair on audiobook.

You can get more information on Amazon: http://amzn.to/13PgsSR

Another treat is the voice you will hear on the audiobook. It is none other than Big Daddy Abel. Also known as BDA, he is the frontman for a band called the Amish Outlaws and a talented author in his own right.



If you enjoy audiobooks, I do hope you will give mine a listen.

Thanks for reading and please visit me at www.FB.com/MarkMillerAuthor

0 Comments on Listen to Me as of 2/26/2013 6:09:00 PM
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14. Odd Links: Resources for Comedy



Do you ever stop learning? I don’t. I may be able to teach a number of things and bring out the best in my students, but for myself, I keep learning.

Here are some things I’ve learned lately.

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15. On the Scene: NIGHT JOB Salon Gets Personal

NJ01 291x300 On the Scene: NIGHT JOB Salon Gets Personal

On March 21st 2013 at the Union Hall bar, restaurant, and music venue in Park Slope, Brooklyn, comics creator and TRIP CITY co-curator Dean Haspiel and comedian/actress Katharine Heller launched what may be the first of several salon events featuring comics, comedy, prose, and musical performances entitled “NIGHT JOB”. Though it was a new venture, neither Haspiel nor Heller are strangers to the stage. They were joined by stand-up comedian and writer Molly Knefel of the internet radio show RADIO DISPATCH, indie cartoonist Meghan Turbitt, author Reverend Jen of the long-running “Rev Jen’s Anti-Slam” performance event. Also performing were political satirist and stand-up comedian Angry Bob, and the music group Two Beards One Heart, including  Jeffrey Burandt (aka Jef UK of Americans UK), and Peter Boiko, supported by John Mathias and John Thomas Robinette III.

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[Haspiel and Heller host the salon]

Though the salon opened to a full basement venue, audience members probably didn’t know quite what to expect from NIGHT JOB, however they might have known some of the performers by reputation. The term “salon” often implies multiple genres in the mix, and NIGHT JOB presented quite a range. Though each of these types of performance have the potential to be very entertaining on their own, it’s a challenge to combine them and create a sense of a cohesive event that, collectively, develops its own personality. NIGHT JOB found its way by emphasizing the raw power of very personal content from its salon members.

IMG 4730 300x225 On the Scene: NIGHT JOB Salon Gets Personal

[Molly Knefel]

Knefel opened with a stand-up routine spoofing the “war on women” in congress last autumn, pointing out that a “war on anuses” would have had even the most conservative public official scrambling to sign up in protest. Her rapid-fire delivery and observational humor had the audience engaged from the outset, but her sense of personal commitment to the subject matter as a thinking person translating impressions of a bizarre world set the tone for the evening.

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[Katharine Heller]

Heller read a selection from her recent project featuring “erotica” geared toward Republican sensibilities, “Tickle the Elephant”, and ingenious attempt to get inside the minds of what appeals to conservative women particularly. Turning the lingo of the senate floor and government catchphrases into turn-ons relentlessly, Heller narrated from the perspective of a conservative seduced by liberalism into a sexual common ground. Heller revealed a rather in-depth knowledge of politics on both sides of the party schism in her artistry, and in her mix of satire and humor, suggested dialogue is possible even in the most heated debates.

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[A Turbitt comic panel]

Turbitt presented and performed a wide range of indie comix that appear online, increasingly irreverent to social taboos, particular in expressing women’s lives. From bathroom scenes of an intimate nature to things that most people find adorable but only annoy her, she pushed the envelope on expression and used the comic-panel reveal for shock-value. Her autobio approach struck many of the same chords as Knefel and Heller’s performances, bringing out the sense that discussing deeply personal subjects is still one of the most direct ways to reach an audience, who may be surprised to find out how much they have in common with the stories they hear and see.

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[Meghan Turbitt]

Haspiel’s comix performance of “Awful George” from his series STREET CODE took the audience deep inside the strangeness, and the horror of urban stories, reflecting his own autobiographical reaction to witnessing a make-shift attempt to save a hoard of cats that had been wilfully neglected in an apartment, only to be topped by the discovery of a mummified corpse, begging the question, “How do you deal with these kind of realities?”

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["Awful George" panel by Haspiel]

The answer from Haspiel is clearly “by expressing them and reaching out to readers”. His debut performance of a newly created Tommy Rocket comic, a spin-off from his BILLY DOGMA web comix, spoke to the twisted aspects of love, and the realities of failure and regret. Haspiel never pulls any punches in his comics, autobio or not, and these hammered home the role of authenticity in performance; getting up in front of a crowd to read your comics demands a kind of soul-baring stance that hits home for the audience.

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[Dean Haspiel]

Reverend Jen took soul baring to a whole new level by reading from her unpublished novel, memoirs of her life as a prostitute attempting to support her artistic endeavors as a painter. She’s known for her extreme honesty during readings, and her narrative plumbed the depths of tragedy and suffering possible in what seems like an everyday world. Her description of images, as well as emotions, made for a stellar performance of prose. Rev Jen’s motivation in performing, to “get stuff out” of oneself actually also served the function of engaging the audience emotionally and reminding them, perhaps, of human resilience along the way.

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[Rev Jen]

Angry Bob, true to his moniker, took on the role of voicing, like Knefel, Heller, and Turbitt, many of the things that people think, but don’t say out loud for fear of being ostracized as freakish. The truth, of course, is that they are not alone and everyone is wonder what’s considered “acceptable” to think or say in social settings. He described himself as someone “rooting through the garbage for shiny objects” like a racoon or other scavenger, and the objects he held up for inspection at NIGHT JOB were the ludicrous aspects of Reality TV, the curse of failed opportunities, and the general rage-inducing capabilities of young children, particularly in public. Angry Bob’s signature delivery, a high-octane rant that frequently addresses audience members directly, had their equally signature outcome: inspiring absolute hilarity at NIGHT JOB.

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[Angry Bob]

The evening’s performances closed with the strikingly independent tones of Two Beards One Heart which also managed to match the ambiance of the previous salon members’ presentations. Not just in musical composition, whose sounds were so original as to suggest that the “personal” can be evoked as equally in sound as in words and images, but also in lyrics, Two Beards managed to create their own singular message.

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[Two Beards One Heart]

Their first song illustrated rising angst through lyrics despite its melodic construction, while the second contrasted the poetic, upbeat aspects of love with bigger realities and banal conflicts. Burandt’s vocals, far from predictable, were particularly engaging, and contributed to a sense of individualistic expression of life’s perplexing highs and lows.

IMG 4758 300x225 On the Scene: NIGHT JOB Salon Gets Personal

 

[Jeffrey Burandt]

One of the most winning aspects of NIGHT JOB, aside from his cohesion as a salon of the personal made public, was the fact that Haspiel asked, repeatedly, if anyone else would like to perform their work, friend or stranger alike. It suggested an open-door to artists of any genre who also had something to share. The tone of the evening, celebrating unique perspectives with communal implications, was as well suited to comics as music and comedy.

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[Haspiel delivers an open invitation]

Setting comics alongside other genres in performance is not a new practice, but it’s becoming increasingly popular, perhaps because of the rise of self-publishing and internet sharing of creative work.  As comics find their footing among other artistic modes, it’s appropriate to start asking what comics have in common with other formats of expression, and what makes them particularly powerful for self-expression. NIGHT JOB did an excellent job of illustrating the point. Performance art forms are about a meeting of minds between the performer and the audience, and many genres already push the boundaries of inter-personal communication, comics included.

IMG 4728 225x300 On the Scene: NIGHT JOB Salon Gets Personal

 

Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comments on On the Scene: NIGHT JOB Salon Gets Personal, last added: 3/28/2013
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16. Interview with Cari Quinn, Author of No Dress Required and Giveaway

Cari Quinn is the author of several romances, including the recently released Entangled Publishing title No Dress Required.  I asked Cari to drop by the virtual offices for a chat.  She graciously agreed, and she even brought a surprise – after the interview, you can enter for a chance to win a digital copy of No Dress Required!

[Cari Quinn] Thank you so much for having me at Manga Maniac Café today!

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you for making the time to stop by!  Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Cari Quinn] I’m a snarky, tenacious, coffee-drinking, college-basketball-watching, book-reading writeaholic!

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about No Dress Required?

[Cari Quinn] Sure thing! No Dress Required is a fun, sexy story about Noelle, a determined woman who sets out to seduce her long-time crush. He just happens to be her best friend’s older brother, Jake. Too bad the night of seduction she has planned doesn’t exactly go the way she’d envisioned!

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Cari Quinn] Like all writers, I think, I’m not entirely sure how I came up with the concept for the story. Some of Jake, the hero’s backstory came about from listening to the Delilah radio show. I also knew Noelle had a thing for “tacky” sweaters. Plus I love the trope of a woman crushing on her best friend’s older brother and adore holiday stories (No Dress Required is set on New Year’s Eve.) Noelle and Jake’s novella was born from there.

[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?

[Cari Quinn] Definitely telling a complete story in a shorter length without sacrificing any of the emotional details. But it was a lot of fun to do! I love Entangled Publishing’s new lines of shorter romances called Flirts and Ever Afters. You get a lot of story in fewer words. My awesomesauce CP, Taryn Elliott, has an amazing Ever After called Ashes and Wine coming out in a couple months as well!

[Manga Maniac Café] Name three things Noelle would never have in her purse.

[Cari Quinn] Oooh, great question! Hmm, I would say her wallet, her sentimental photographs and probably some fruity lip gloss, to try to distract Jake from the bunnies on her shirt.

Although by the middle of No Dress Required, Noelle wished she still had her purse itself…and the condoms inside. ;)

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Cari Quinn] Music and reading the work of other authors. Often times when I’m in a creative slump, I realize it’s because I haven’t been listening to enough music. Sometimes I’ve been skimping on my reading time. Rectifying one or both of those things usually helps the creative vein to open up once again.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Cari Quinn] I need to turn on my music, get some coffee and shut down the internet. Without doing those things, my muse flees to parts unknown!

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Cari Quinn] Wow, another great question. I’d say The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I read that book in elementary school and I absolutely loved the idea of stepping into a wardrobe and discovering a magical world. I used to pretend my mom’s closet had a secret passageway to other rooms, I loved the idea so much! If I ever become rich, I think I might be tempted to put in a “secret” roo

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17. Review: Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox

 

Title: Ride with Me

Author: Ruthie Knox

Publisher: Loveswept

ISBN: B0061C1OQ0

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

In this fun, scorching-hot eBook original romance by Ruthie Knox, a cross-country bike adventure takes a detour into unexplored passion. As readers will discover, Ride with Me is not about the bike!

When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger–a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.

Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.

Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: In the Arms of the Law, Ivy Secrets, and Because of You.

Review:

I have mentioned before how much I loved the Loveswept imprint of category romances.  I was tickled when Random House revived the line, with plans to re-release older titles, as well as introduce new stories to the line.  Ride with Me is the first original book that I have read in the Loveswept line, and I found it very true to the older books that I read and loved.  It’s sexy and funny and told with breezy prose.  I ate this one up very quickly.

Lexie has dreamed of biking in the TransAm for as long as she can remember.  The only problem? Her riding partner on the long trek from Oregon to Virginia had to back out because of an injury.  Not looking forward to the long journey by herself, Lexie puts out a few ads for a riding partner.  When Tom’s sister responds without his knowledge, she poses as Tom and makes plans for Lexie and her brother to ride together.  Tom is furious with her when he finds out, but his sister guilts him into at least meeting Alex.  Then Tom is furious to discover that Alex is actually Lexie.  One thing he doesn’t need is a woman holding him back on the ride.

I was actually afraid that the story would bore me, because I have zero interest in biking.  Now, if Lexie and Tom were going to ride horses across the country, you wouldn’t have been able to keep me away. After about two pages in, though,  my fears were put to rest.  I loved Tom right away.  He is cranky and aloof, and still stinging after discovering that his wife was cheating on him, his social skills have become decidedly rusty.  Lexie, on the other hand, is bubbly and vibrant and fun to be around.  Everyone loves her, and she has the ability to engage complete strangers in conversations, quickly making friends with them.  Lexie and Tom couldn’t be more different, and their different personalities clash for almost the entire book.  They are both strong people, which is a good thing, because Tom can be downright awful.  There were a few occasions that he had me so angry with him that I wished I could grab him by the scru

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18. Comedian/Author Michael Ian Black on Why the Movies Get Love and Marriage All Wrong

"Love," writes Michael Ian Black, "is cinema’s abiding theme, especially romantic love, the kind of 'meet cute' love that surmounts every roadblock on its journey to happy ever after."

But love (and marriage) in the movies, well, that bears little resemblance to the life that the comedian, actor (The State, Wet Hot American Summer) and best-selling author has found himself living, and, one might venture to speculate, the lives most of us live. Do you agree? Here's more of Black's take, written just for Amazon: 

Michael Ian Black

"It’s no wonder that movies get marriage so wrong. After all, they are almost diametrically opposing experiences. Movies are about escape. Marriages are about 'no escape.' Once you tie your life to somebody else, there is no turning back, at least not without an attorney.

One of the things that inspired me to write my new book, You’re Not Doing It Right, is my annoyance at movie marriages, particularly the romantic comedy marriage. Hollywood has given us two, equally false, notions of marriage. Either it’s the joining of two gorgeous young people “destined” to be together, or as a wheezing and cold institution inhabited by miserable and middle-aged wheezebags, usually meant to illustrate a counterpoint to the love the gorgeous young couple in the film will share once their destinies are realized, and they are able to finally be together against all odds. Yawn. Boring. Wrong.

In my experience as a husband of thirteen years, marriage is neither of these things. Yes, my wife and I are both gorgeous. Hollywood got that part right. And yes, we had to surmount a few obstacles to be together, such as the fact that she was living with her boyfriend when we met.  But our trip down the aisle wasn’t the beginning of a perfect life together. It was the start of something else, something that cannot be encapsulated in ninety minutes and a soundtrack by Maroon 5."

Read more on the Amazon Studios Hollywonk blog.

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19. Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011, 352 pp, ISBN: 0374379939


Recap
Jack Gantos is grounded for the summer. The whole summer. The only way that he can get out of the house is to write obituaries for Miss Volker, because her arthritis is so bad she can't hold a pencil anymore. 


At first, this sounds like even worse torture than helping his dad dig the bomb shelter in their front yard, but once all of Norvelt's old ladies start dropping dead, things get downright interesting.

Review:
Initially, Dead End in Norvelt suffered because I read it immediately on the heels of Okay for Now - both "funny books" with strong male narrators. And in a direct heat between the two, Okay's Doug would win out over Dead End's Jack every time - not that the Newbery Committee seemed to notice. (And have you noticed that the two covers are strangely similar?)


But once I got about a third of the way through Jack's story, I warmed up to him. I think this had less to do with Jack himself, and more to do with the hilarious people in his life - particularly Miss Volker, his best friend Bunny, and the tricycle riding Mr. Spizz. Bunny was aggravated that Jack would rather spend his summer examining bodies and writing obits with Miss Volker than playing baseball with her, but I was just thankful. A summer with Miss Volker surely makes for better reading than a summer of baseball!


Dead End was even more appealing because it is partially a reflection of author Jack Gantos' real life. I mean... the main character is named Jack Gantos! All throughout I kept trying to figure out which pieces of the fiction might actually be fact. Here's one bit of trivia that happens to be true: Norvelt is a real town which was named after First Lady EleaNOR RooseVELT, the town's planner and supporter throughout the Great Depression. Evidently, Mrs. Roosevelt planted a string of these towns across the United States.


Dead End in Norvelt goes up against Daughter of Smoke and Bone in the BoB tomorrow. I am now officially a fan of Dead End, but I'm holding out hope that Laini Taylor wins the round!
4 Comments on Dead End in Norvelt, last added: 3/16/2012
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20. Whether Light or Dark

 

If you write fiction, should you write light copy or dark? Is the choice like that of light or dark turkey at Thanksgiving? Does your preference reflect your inner workings or your reading preference? And does it matter?

Authors like Stephen King write both. A reader doesn’t normally think of the author of “Carrie,” and “The Green Mile,” as writing “Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season.” In case you’re wondering, he also wrote another book on baseball, too.

Poets explore both paths to find explanations and impressions of the world’s workings and their own. Finding the humanity in dark literature isn’t new. It has a long tradition.

Mary Shelley created Frankenstein as more than a dark novel. The story roams through the reader’s mind as a look into a sinner’s guilt and requisite redemption, a romance set within the framework of a nightmare, and a glimpse of the terror-ridden existence of a life that should never have arisen. Like King, Shelley rolled human fears and motivations into a neat bundle and served it up as dark meat for the reader.

But Shelley was hardly the first to venture into the realm of shadows, sin, and the seamier side of life. The ancient Greek playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides gave the world dark tragedy with attitude. Their plays, such as Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, certainly weren’t meant for the faint of heart.

These stage ventures also contained romance, sin and redemption themes, Gods—vengeful and otherwise–and human frailty. These ancient writers set more than the Greek stage. They put civilization on the road of writing works that drew the viewer into another’s tragedy, or comedy, and sent the mind spinning off into realms of distraction from the viewer’s everyday experience.

Comedy such as the wildly satirical work of Aristophanes allowed the audience to laugh instead of cry at the doings of man. The playwright used the play’s chorus to deliver scathing humor at the expense of the drama.  This playwright, 2000 years later, continues to rank as a master of dark comedy with a twist.

Today’s writers strive for the same effect. Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” series follows Shelley’s trademark theme. Vampires, too, seem to be created by others with agendas to keep.

Writers have a choice of how they present their ideas about the world and the players in it. Romance makes way for tragedy, while comedy lands on its feet next to the potential absurdity of fantasy, as that genre tries to remake history with personal ideals and mythical creat

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21. 3 Examples of Sharpening Humor for Kids

I am working on an short chapter book and I want it to be funny. My kids say I have no sense of humor and they are right. But fortunately, I have a quote for that:

I love revisions. Where else in life can spilled milk be transformed into ice cream?”
~ Katherine Paterson, Gates of Excellence: On Reading and Writing Books for Children (1982) p. 63

You can be funny–I’m told–if you just revise. Here are some ice cream recipes.

Place holders. First, it’s important to know that it’s OK to write a joke-lets or jokoids, places where it could be funny, but it isn’t yet. Or places where there is irony or humor, but I haven’t milked it yet. These placeholders mean that I’ve put into the story the elements that need to be there–I just haven’t exploited them yet. That comes in the revision.

Funny Technique #1: Setup, Setup, Payoff


Here’s a possible set up for a joke from my WIP. The two characters are discussing where to have an Alien Birthday Party.

“It will be at my house, maybe in the back yard. Is it big enough for an alien space ship to land there?”
“Oh, yes.” Her yard was huge enough for three of our spaceships. Of course, ours was just a tiny spaceship for one family. Back on planet Bix, there were spaceships large enough to fill up three Earth-sized football fields. Maybe more.

NOT a joke, not even a good joke-let. It’s nothing but a question and answer. But can I make it a joke?
What if I use a Setup, setup, payoff: big, bigger, tiny.

Back on Bix, there were spaceships large enough to fill up three Earth-sized football fields. There were spaceships large enough to fill up Lake Michigan. Our family spaceship, though, was only as big as a bathroom.

Interesting, but not there yet. What I need is two comparisons and a third that is ridiculous in comparison? What small things are in a kid’s experience, what space or size would they think is tiny? The school janitor’s closet. The boy’s bathroom. A submarine. Kids packed into a school bus. A school bus would seem like a mansion compared to our family space ship. No, flip that and put the payoff last: Compared to our family space ship, a school bus would rank as a mansion. Let’s try that one.

“It will be at my house, maybe in the back yard. Is it big enough for an alien space ship to land there?”

“Oh, yes.” Back on Bix, there were spaceships large enough to fill up three Earth-sized football fields. There were spaceships large enough to carry a dozen blue whales. But compared to our family space ship, a school bus would rank as a mansion.

Is that better? Yes. Of course, it is. Not hilarious maybe, but sharper, bettet.

Funny Technique #2: Doorbell Effect or Setting up Expectations

“What kind of games could we play at the party?” Bree started jumping up and down. “I know. We could dress up in space suits and helmets and everything like that. Can your parents do that?”

Human girls do like to change clothes a lot. But what was a space suit? And why would you wear a helmet? It was another thing to look up later. “Yes,”

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22. "Animal House" Exclusive Interview: New Book, New Stories and Visions of Broadway

Animal House, one of the most-loved movie comedies of all time, is hotter than ever. There’s a Broadway show in the works and a new, behind-the-scenes book called Fat, Drunk, & Stupid by producer Matty Simmons, who talks to us about what Hollywood first thought of the script (hated it!), what got cut, and why there was never a sequel.

Some highlights from the interview:

FatDrunkStupidBookOn getting the green light: My junior partner at the time was Ivan Reitman [who went on to make comedy classics including Ghostbusters] and we went into [Univeral Studios chief Ned] Tanen’s office and he said, “I hate this movie. Everyone’s drunk or having sex or getting beat up. Do you think you could make it for less than $3 million?" Now I had never made a movie. Ivan had made a couple of movies in Canada for about $8. I said, “Absolutely.” And I didn’t know what I was talking about. We made it for $2.8 million, and overall, everything in to date, it’s grossed about $600 million.

On the unforgettable audience response: We screened that movie in Denver … and at the end of that movie, the audience was standing on chairs and screaming and applauding and yelling. No one had seen anything like it. And then when they brought it back to Hollywood, they did a test screening and it got the highest rating in the then-history of the ratings system.

On getting Animal House to Broadway, with music by Barenaked Ladies: I had the idea about four or five years ago and it took me that long to convince Universal to do it, because they own the rights. They said, “Well, if you bring in the right team.” So I brought in a top Broadway producer, who many years ago was my publicity man and has since won about six Tonys (Jeff Richards), and the director of the Book of Mormon, the hottest show on Broadway (Casey Nicholaw).

Read more on the Amazon Studios Hollywonk blog.

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23. Doomed Obsession.

On this day in 1959, Nikita Khrushchev (after a trip to the San Fernando Valley) announced his five year plan to become the world’s leading producer of marital aids. The rest is history.

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24. Face Down in San Francisco

Hi. It's Dave again, you know, from yesterday. Today I write to you from lovely San Francisco, where last night I did a show at the Punchline with the great Mike Drucker and Jesse Elias, two hilarious guys with incredible hair. I've been mixing it up between doing readings and comedy shows on my book [...]

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25. Face-Lift 1043


Guess the Plot

Kitty Kitty Bang Bang

1. In this graphic novel, Springfield is invaded by ferocious wildcats and all hope seems lost-- until Elmer Fudd comes to the rescue. Plus, a werecoyote.

2. Bubba Hollowell has a harmless enough hobby; he shoots cats. But now the kitties have acquired a few firearms of their own, and it's payback time.

3. When her favorite cat explodes, Ezzie is devastated. She goes after the culprit, a mad scientist who plans to take over the most brilliant minds of America using nanobots. With nothing but a disembodied cat head in her purse, can Ezzie save the world?

4. Two Russian cats eat mice that ate cheese enchanted by Rasputin - and foment a fauna-driven Revolution against punyhumans. Explosive! With psyanka.

5. Kitty had always been a girly girl, but when the family business is assassinations there is only so far a pink gun with glitter grips can go.

6. In the wild, wild west there's only one rule – whoever has the fastest gun wins. When the sinister Black Bart tries to stake a claim to Miss Kitty's cathouse, he quickly learns that no one out shoots . . . Kitty Kitty Bang Bang.



Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Ezzie Abacus is devastated when Zep [Anagram: Pez] the lab cat explodes. After all, Zep was the first experimental robot that Ezzie and her husband, mad scientist Conrad, ever built. But when Ezzie and Conrad collect Zep’s scattered paws and sparking wires, they discover this was no accident—this was sabotage.

Not entirely successful sabotage, though. Zep triggered his own self-destruct command when someone tried to hack into him. Ezzie and Conrad travel to the nearest chapterhouse of the Mad Scientists Local 42 for assistance, only to find the union hall infiltrated by killer robots. First Zep and now the Local 42—as Ezzie and Conrad judo-chop their way through the killer bots, they suspect something bigger than cat-enabled [cat related?] espionage is going on here. [These killer robots are pretty pathetic if they can't take out two puny humans. Have they actually ever killed anyone?]

Their suspicion naturally falls on the head of rival organization VIRAL. Victor von Steele has a knack for robotics and a long-time feud with the Local 42, and happens to be Ezzie’s former mentor and current nemesis. Ezzie and Conrad set out to find von Steele, but are taken aback when he finds them first. VIRAL is not behind the attacks, he claims, but a target of them as well. [A whole paragraph to get the wrong guy?]

While Conrad follows one lead, Ezzie reluctantly teams up with von Steele to pursue another. Together they descend into the Labyrinth, a hidden network of abandoned storage rooms and research facilities beneath New Mexico [aka Area 42]. After a battle with still-active guardian robots, Ezzie finds a fugitive mad scientist who at first seems to be the target she seeks. After a frantic chase from New Mexico to Massachusetts, Ezzie nabs her man—only to find he is not the mastermind, but a bystander who saw too much and now is on the run himself. [Another whole paragraph to get another wrong guy?]

With the information gained

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