Hello, everyone. My name is H.E. Ellis, and I am a colossal pain in the ass when I’m bored.
Most days I keep my boredom at bay by adding cartoon characters or celebrities I’ve never met to my phone’s contact list, or by pranking unsuspecting people who happen to incorrectly dial my cellphone number. Then there are days when the boredom is too much and I share my pain by sending random and nonsensical texts to the poor souls who happen to know me.
Featured here are the best responses to the inane chatter that escapes my head on a daily basis: (more…)
It’s Funny Blog Friday again, and I’m here to not only brighten your day but to pass along some sage advice on how to avoid the dreaded slushpile.
What’s the slushpile, you ask? The slushpile, my friends, is the virtual trash bin where your manuscript lands the moment a prospective agent determines it is not yet ready for publication. Believe me, after all your hard work this is no place you want to be.
So how do you avoid the slushpile? Read widely? Write often? Find yourself a solid writers’ group?
Hell no! You do it by following my advice, of course! I’ve spent the past year creating a collection of books designed to help would-be authors navigate their way through the jungle that is the publishing world. Choose from the following: (more…)
I, like most people, take a personal inventory at the beginning of each new year. I examine my past behaviors or actions to see which have or have not worked for me and challenge myself to do better. One of the things I decided to try this year is something life coaches are calling, “Emulation Therapy.”
In other words, you find someone successful you admire and model your daily behavior after theirs. Luckily for me, fashion mogul Tom Ford did an interview with Harper’s Bazaar Magazine where he chronicled his daily routine.
Below you will find an example of a typical Tom Ford day, as well as an example of one of my own I put together so that I could compare efforts. If my findings are correct, all I need to do to reach Tom Ford-level success is bathe more.
Let’s check it out!
Hello Everyone, it’s me, Hellis, live and in person. Well, in spirit. I’ve been away from our little corner of the virtual Utopia we call Blogworld this week because I’ve been spending time with the new love of my life. Yes, people I am in love, and have decided to use the Funny Blog Friday post as an opportunity to introduce him to my world.
The latest object of my affection is a man like no other; he is fun-loving, free-spirited and young at heart. His childlike innocence attracted me immediately and before I knew it, I was hooked. Today I’d like to introduce you to the man who captured my heart and is sure to steal yours. Without further ado I give you…Randy Pan. (more…)
Some of you may not know that I am a die-hard New Englander, which means that I am required by law to give people a hard time (usually while drunk in a pub). We call that “being a Pissah,” in our native New Englandese.
Even as a New Englander I know I should be above something like what follows, but I’m not. This was just too funny for me to pass up. Sometime ago a fellow blogger put out a very funny, very harmless post about MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL.
For some reason another blogger named Neil (he offered his name) raped the shit out of XXXX’s comments. (I’ve chosen to respect the blogger’s privacy by replacing his name with XXXX. As you read on you’ll see why). When XXXX blocked his subsequent comments, Neil did what any self-respecting, sane individual would do. He blasted everyone who commented on XXXX’s post, including me.
BIG. FUCKING. MISTAKE.
Since I can resist anything but temptation I took the liberty of answering his questions. You’ll see them in italics after his answers. Feel free to agree or disagree as you see fit. So without further interruption I give you…NEIL! (more…)
On the heels of the ass-whooping the New England Patriots gave the Chicago Bears last Sunday, I’ve decided to rerun a post that should do a good job of summing up my present state of misery as a former Pats fan:
Picture the scene:
It’s February 2012 and yours truly is glued to the television, elbows deep in clam chowda, an ice cold rack a pounders within reach. The iconic opening of O Fortuna pours out of the speakers and my heart begins to pound in anticipation. I move closer to the screen just as the un-mistakeable sound of Ozzy screaming, “ALL ABOARD!” heralds the moment I’ve been waiting for– the moment my beloved New England Patriots take the field for SuperBowl XLVI. (more…)
That’s “Hello Readers!” according to Google Translate. Being Italian I should technically know how to say that on my own, but my family’s dialect is far too regional to communicate anything coherent. Luckily I had the chance to interview fellow Italian and renowned world traveler, Christopher Columbus. Let’s hope his English is better than my Italian: (more…)
In honor of the season I’ve decided to tackle the topic of horror movie villains. Since no one loves a good horror flick more than I do, I’ve decided no Hellis list could be complete without my ten personal favorites. I give you:
THE TOP TEN SCARIEST HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS OF ALL TIME (more…)
Today I have decided to pay homage to the late, great Gene Roddenberry on what would have been his 93rd birthday by conducting an interview I believe he might have enjoyed. Now I ask you, what better way to pay tribute to one of the greatest contributors to the SciFi genre than to have a face-off of Starship Captains? Ladies and gentlemen I give you…
JAMES T. KIRK VS JEAN-LUC PICARD
Spring has finally sprung, and with it our interview with everyone’s childhood favorite, the Easter Bunny.
Determined to get an interview with this elusive holiday icon, I cornered him in his underground den and discovered something I’d not expected. I open today’s interview with the question that should have been asked ages ago:
HE: Say…you aren’t really a bunny, are you?
In recognition of April Fool’s Day I scored a rare opportunity to sit down with the God of Mischief, Loki.
HE: “Hello Loki. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to speak with me and my readers.”
HE: “Uh, that’s it? ‘Hi?’”
LOKI: “Well, I’ve got a lot on my plate. You do realize what day this is, right? Nice fucking time management there, Chickie.” (more…)
The author of this particular piece is tomorrow’s featured Twisted Fictioneer. Can you guess who it is?
Good morning! I have landed an exclusive with a personality not often featured in the stories concerning Santa Claus and the ongoing drama surrounding him. Today, I am interviewing Lashonda Jefferson, otherwise known as Brown Shugga. Good morning La… uhm, Ms. Shugga.
B.S.: You can call me, Shugga honey. Everybody does.
H.E.: I have to ask up front, what got you into this life, and why did you pick a corner in the North Pole?
B.S.: Baby, that’s one hell of a long story involving wayward elves and their love of…well, let’s just say they like them some brown shugga, you know what I’m sayin’ honey? Anyways, it’s damn cold on up in here if you don’t have nothin’ to keep you warm at night, and that Mrs. Claus, well she’s just plain crazy, you feel me? One of them elves just decided that Santa needed some good ol’ fashioned TLC if you get my drift, and he dragged my ass up and I’ve been here ever since. Can’t seem to get nobody to take me back and I can’t say I evah want to leave.
H.E.: Can you relate to the audience how the night of Mr. Claus’ arrest went down?
B.S.: I know that Kris is pissed at Brown Shugga, but I never set nobody up to take no fall! He was out, ya know lookin’ to score some Shugga *wink* and some coke. Of course, Shugga always takes care of her clients…especially them ‘high profile’ ones…Some bitch who was lookin’ to take over ma territory and ma man come outta nowhere and offered Kris her stuff!! Can you imagine?!! Well, I ain’t dealin’ with that bitch and I beat her ass. She tryin’ to hustle poor Kris into thinkin’ that she…that…that….HO! Fuckin’ whitey she was…she was a plant, a fuckin’ cop, I know it! I can smell a pig…anyways, next thing ya know me and Santa Baby in cuffs and bein’ dragged down to the station like common criminals! He was downright mean and nasty after that! Whew, baby you ain’t seen nobody with a temper like that fucker…
H.E.: I see. And you were then released with charges dropped in exchange for your information, true?
B.S.: Baby, Brown Shugga ain’t been charged with nothin’ and ain’t gonna be charged with nothin’. I was simply providin’ a service. Good ol’ fashioned satisfyin’ the demands of the area, if ya get ma drift. As for white bitch, she got what was comin’ to her…I got yo information right here, baby! (clutches her crotch) Hehehe..no, really. I gots lots of information and it’s all written down in ma – well, let’s just say Shugga is well protected.
H.E.: I have sources that also maintain that you and a certain D.A. have an ongoing ‘special relationship.’ Can you comment on that?
B.S.: Oh, ya mean…well, we been friends for years. He and I have an understandin’….he lets me live ma life and I give him some well-deserved R&R if you feel me…he certainly does…hehehe…hey. You hungry? You little on the thin side…want some of my tuna salad? I made it this mornin’ while I was takin’ a break…
H.E.: Oh… no. I just do not like tuna, thanks. Moving on, what is the nature of your relationship to LeMonjello Otis?
B.S.: Oh, dear LeMon he been tailin’ ma ass for years. He can’t hurt nobody, fucked up little fool. He talks big and all, but he’s really small in the, ya know, dick department. Shugga knows how to make him feel more like a man, but fuck, he’s really sm-
H.E.: Are the rumors of you launching a daytime talk show on the Oprah Network true?
B.S.: Oprah?! Baby, me and Oprah are like THAT (crosses fingers) Sista knows how to talk and Shugga is more than willin’ to let her all the way to Shugga’s bank account….anywho, it’s just talk right now. We’ll see how things go, ya know with Kris and his problems an’ all…crazy bitch wife ain’t makin’ easy on ‘im though…fucker needs some good lawyerin’ up…
H.E.: One last question – just how big is Santa’s – er, sleigh?
B.S.: Honey, Shugga don’t kiss an’ tell…but I can say he ain’t no magical elf for nothin’…hehehe…
STAY TUNED FOR OUR NEXT INSTALLMENT OF THE SANTA SHAME SPIRAL WHERE WE SIT DOWN WITH NONE OTHER THAN RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER!
This past year we’ve chronicled the rapid decline and ultimate downfall of a great holiday icon, Santa Claus. From his original sit down with us in Santa Spam One, to our very revealing interview with Mrs. Claus and right-hand elf Lipshitz in Santa Spam Two, and onto his now infamous drunken tirade in Santa Spam Three.
One can’t help but wonder how a man who rose to greatness could sink so low. Could examining his childhood shine a light onto the troubles that were to come? For those of you looking for answers look no further, because today we visit with a ghost from Santa’s Christmas’ past- his childhood friend and confidante:
FROSTY THE SNOWMAN
H.E.: Hello blogworld and gather around. I’m standing out here freezing my soft bits off so that I can bring you an interview with an icon of Christmas, Frosty the Snowman. Frosty how are you today?
F.t.S.: Cold and hard, if you know what I mean. If you treat me nice, I’ll let you hold my snowballs. Whatya say? A little friction could warm you up. Hmmh? C’mon! What, nothin’ but a cold shoulder? I could get that at home. Can’t blame a guy for tryin’ though, eh?
H.E.: I’d like to tackle some hard-hitting questions first. You’re well-known for your corncob pipe, button nose and coal-lump eyes. Is this your personal statement about public smoking legislation, child labor in sweatshops, and open-pit mining?
F.t.S.: Nah! I used to be much better turned-out, but then one day a big Chinook blew through. Melted me right down to my bare essentials, you know what I’m sayin’? By the time the runoff subsided, this was all my Eskimo friends could find in the storm drain, to put me back together with. I went on the Inuit weight-gain diet to regain my Rubenesque look. I had to eat whale meat and blubber. If you had to eat nothing but whale meat, you’d blubber too.
H.E.: Hmm, I see. One more – not many people know, but years back you released a record to extend your fan base into summer that you called, “Frosty: the Wetter Side.” Any comment on that album and the rumors that you ripped off William Shatner’s idea?
F.t.S.: I wanted to title that one, “Slip and Slide”. I think the kids would really have gone for it, but some toy company got all pissy about it. Like they’re the only ones who ever had a good idea. Far as I’m concerned they can all starve, but I guess lawyers gotta justify their existence.
Interesting that you should mention Shatner. We found out later that the big warm blow that almost turned me into a tropical cloud, wasn’t really a Chinook. It was just Bill comin’ through on a speaking tour. I know I have a well-rounded….personality, but have you looked at him recently? I looked up “fat chance” the other day, and there was a picture of him, eh.
H.E.: How have you come to grips with being a seasonal personality?
F.t.S.: It’s not bad. It’s like being semi-retired. Work a few months, and then kick back and live off the residuals. I was thinking of expanding the market and working South America in the off-season. I’ve already had to learn Inuit and that poutine French they speak in Quebec. I didn’t think it was worth having to learn Spanish, besides, it’s almost impossible to get a refrigerated flight to Chile.
H.E.: Is there a Mrs. Frosty?
F.t.S.: There might soon be an ex-Mrs. Frosty. She hasn’t just been Frosty; she’s been down-right frigid for years. Santa’s been whining about losing Mrs. Claus, but he needs her or some other Harriet Homemaker type, to keep the elves out of trouble. Polar bears and Arctic seals can take care of themselves.
H.E.: Two generations have seen the claymation TV specials, but in your own words, where the hell do you go between spring and early winter?
F.t.S.: Certainly not to Hell, unless you mean those few times when Hell freezes over. I migrate north with the caribou. I used to have a nice place just outside of Nome. I could see Sarah Palin’s place from my front porch. It was nice for a while, but now it’s all full of political reporters and comedy writers. She got drunked-up one day, mistook me for a moose, and almost shot my ass. Now I go so far up, that the North Pole sticks up my frozen assets.
H.E.: My sources tell me you are building a case to sue Wendy’s over their signature frozen shake name that they sell. Any comment on that?
F.t.S.: Who told you about Wendy??! First Shatner, now her. Have you been reading my biography galley? We’re just friends! Although she does have a warm heart, and a cold freezer. The wife and I have been going to an Aleutian marriage counsellor, but if that doesn’t work out, I could move in with Wendy. I might be a little cabin-fevery after six months in a meat locker, but she promises to make it worth my while. She’s already been slipping me some of the royalties from my namesake treat. I’ve been using it to hire a limo-dogsled for the trips north.
H.E.: Any final thoughts for the audience?
F.t.S.: Work hard to be a leader! If you aren’t the lead dog in the sled-team, the view never changes. Stay frosty, and like the Eskimos say, “Don’t eat yellow snow!”
Return for our next installment of the SANTA SHAME SPIRAL where we interview his dealer, LeMonjello Otis.
Hello everyone, and welcome to what I’ve come to pray is my last interview. Hey! Pulitzer guy… ya fanug! I might be praying, but that’s all this girl’s doing on her knees for your award! … ahem. Anyway, I’m here with the one and only Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph how are you doing today?
R: I have a head cold. I know it’s hard to tell because my nose is always red. In fact, I am pretty sure that is how those stories got started in the tabloids. But I do not have a drinking problem and I gave up snorting the ‘snow’. Sure, I like to put a little rum in my egg nog. We all do that. It is cold where we live.
You want to talk about a drinking problem ask me about Blitzen. How do you think he got that name? I remember once when they were playing some reindeer game… this is back before they let me play with them… Blitzen broke both of Prancer’s front legs. Prancer, that’s the gay one… not that there is anything wrong with that… couldn’t prance for three months. You have any idea what it’s like to be a gay reindeer that can’t prance?
H.E.: Can you give us any insight into what working for Santa is like?
R: First of all, it really pisses me off that people think we work just one night a year. Santa has a magic bag that is sort of like a Tardis… bigger on the inside than on the outside. But he doesn’t have a magic toy factory. It is more like a sprawling 600 acre complex of tool shops, fabrication plants, painting facilities and so on. Not to mention the vast warehouses for stuff coming in and going out. We get shipments of finished products and raw materials from all over the world.
All that stuff has to get moved from place to place. The elves load it on big work sleds and guess who gets to drag it where it needs to go. I was pulling work sleds long before I got to pull the big guy’s sled. See, that is our magic. We can make stuff float, or hover or whatever. And the reindeer don’t have a union. It isn’t all fun and reindeer games, I can tell you. At least we got the elves to stop using whips.
H.E.: Oh, my. That sounds barbaric. I suppose you have no family?
R: A family? Are you kidding me? When would I have time? And believe it or not, my nose is a genetic mutation that comes in handy when it is foggy, but it isn’t exactly a magnet for the babes if you know what I’m saying. Would you date somebody with a glowing body part?
H.E.: The world is dying to know: which of the Reindeer are male and which are female?
R: Donner and Blitzen are male. Prancer is a dude, but he is a little light in the hooves if you know what I mean… not that there is anything wrong with that… And Dasher, Comet and Cupid are all guys. Dasher is sort of full of himself, and Comet is a real asshole, but whatever.
Dancer and Vixen are the only ladies in the Christmas lineup. But I use the term ‘ladies’ in only the loosest sense… ha, that’s funny now that I think about it. Vixen earned her name the hard way… oh man, I kill myself… yeah, that girl puts out like a vending machine. She will present her haunches to any male mammal with a pulse.
H.E.: On more pertinent topics, do you have any knowledge of the charges currently building against Santa Claus?
R: Which charges are we talking about? I know for a fact that he has warrants out for his arrest in at least 15 countries. Most of that is stuff he does when he is on vacation. And he plays pretty fast and loose with the rules here at the pole. Because he makes all the rules.
All that other stuff, I could care less. I have my own problems. But if the cops ever put a sobriety checkpoint on the roof of a house on Christmas eve, there are going to be a lot of pissed off kids in the morning, that’s for damn sure.
H.E.: And how would you describe the role of a certain elf, Lipschitz?
R: Lipschitz is a dipshit. He calls himself a whistle blower. The closest he ever got to that is what I caught him doing to Prancer in the stables one night.
H.E.: Have you witnessed any kind of abuse or domestic violence?
R: I have my job… and my life… to think about. Ratting out the big guy would be like testifying against a Mob boss… when you work for him. I mean, that guy is stone-cold fucking crazy. Do you know why he wears red all the time? It isn’t a fashion statement. It’s so the blood doesn’t show. Rumor has it that there is a dungeon under one of the toy factories. Elves, animals and people dissapear when the big guy gets angry. I know for a fact that he melted Frosty the Snowman with a welding torch.
And Mrs. Claus? Let’s just say that she walks into a lot of door edges and falls down a lot. That is the story and I am sticking to it. I’ve said too much already.
H.E.: Final question: Two generations of Americans are dying to know – is the claymation holiday movie based on your life?
R: Which movie? You have any idea how many movies have me in them? There are hundreds of them. And none of us sees a dime in royalties.
Most of those were put out by our P.R. department. They are good. They are like the Disney corporation. And you know what? Santa pays attention to his image. But it’s all reindeer shit. If they ever made a movie of my life it would be directed by Quentin Tarantino and it would be rated X.
I met the Abominable Snowman once. Fucker tried to eat me. And that island of misfit toys? That place is a freak show. Remember that Toy Story movie that had the kid in it that tortured toys and cut them up and stuck the parts back together to make sick mutants? That kid has nothing on Santa. Picture being in that kid’s room when the toys come alive… and you are frying on some really bad acid.
But Santa really can make toys come alive. And sometimes he likes to blow off a little steam. The island of misfit toys is where he goes to play Dr. Frankenstein. I think you get the idea.
For those of you who just can’t get enough of the holiday spirit, consider purchasing the Bloggers’ Compilation Project offering: ICONIC INTERVIEWS.
The world’s most beloved holiday icons presented in a collection of irreverent interviews that take on the backstory of their imagined existences.
Some of the best bloggers from around the ‘Sphere are interviewed as iconic holiday characters, each one zanier than the next. Click on the bloggers below for more good stuff!
Iconic Interviews can be purchased here:
AVAILABLE IN EBOOK FORMAT THROUGH SMASHWORDS
AVAILABLE IN EBOOK FORMAT THROUGH AMAZON
AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK THROUGH AMAZON
I’D LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING BLOGGERS FOR THEIR GENEROUS CONTRIBUTION:
BrainRants as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Lipschitz the Elf
Want to be a part of the next Bloggers’ Compilation Project?
Check out F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES and leave your choice in the comments. All profits from the sale of Iconic Interviews and FUFT are donated to charity.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Grim has arrived. The graphic novel empire known as Newbury Comics has graciously agreed to take a chance on everyone’s favorite Reaper by offering a spot for his book on its illustrious shelves.
For those of you who may not know, Newbury Comics is New England’s premiere comic/graphic novel/punk/new wave/indie music vendor. Considered Mecca to the pop-culture obsessed, I couldn’t imagine a better fit for a novella series as potentially off-putting as REAPERS WITH ISSUES.
Now, if I could just finish Book Two…
CLICK THE PIC FOR STORE LOCATIONS
The advent of Mtv was both a blessing and a curse for me as a kid. Once musicians had the ability to act in their videos, they somehow felt the need to put on a show as opposed to simply performing their songs. Sometimes, as was the case with Billy Idol, it turned out to be a good thing. I remember as a kid sitting transfixed in front of the television whenever REBEL YELL came on, staring at the screen and thinking some very, very grown-up thoughts about this bleach-blonde wonder. And who can forget THRILLER? I remember exactly where I was the first time I watched that video. I can do the dance to this day.
Sadly, not all my experiences were as positive as the ones I’ve mentioned. Not every singer is a star, as music video history has shown us. I’ve dredged up some memories (and hit the YouTube) for a sample of some of the worst offenders. It’s time to buckle in folks, because this is going to be painful. We start our list of bad videos that happened to good musicians with:
KISS – LICK IT UP
I brought a KISS lunch box to the first day of kindergarten, that’s how big a fan I was as a kid. You can appreciate my shock and horror the first time I was subjected to…well, whatever the hell this is. I still haven’t forgiven them.
Damn Yankees – HIGH ENOUGH
The next video is every bit as tragic as the previous one because it features the cataclysmic crash and burn of one of rock’s best guitar legends: Ted Nugent. That’s right, Mr. Cat Scratch Fever himself joined a band who called themselves Damn Yankees- a band that can only be described as having all the raw sex appeal of the Traveling Wilburys, minus the badassery. Click play and see for yourself. The only thing in a Stranglehold in this video are Ted’s balls, clenched tightly in the fist of whomever he sold them out to.
David Bowie – CHINA GIRL
I imagine Bowie fans will come down on me for the next offering, but I will stand my ground. Yes, David Bowie is known for being unconventional and avante guarde, so the oddness of this video should come as no surprise. I contend that it is the utter lack of Bowiesque influence that bothers me most. It’s as if he’s trying to reinvent himself as a lounge singer. Not what I expected from Major Tom. And don’t get me started on the creepy pedophilic vibe running throughout this epic disaster.
David Bowie & Mick Jagger – DANCING IN THE STREET
It seems that whatever Bowie touched in the 80’s turned to musical “Meh,” as demonstrated in this technicolor nightmare featuring the once great Mick Jagger. This video is what I imagine homely girls do for fun at sleepovers. And…now I have no more followers.
Van Halen – TATTOO
This next one may be a bit controversial, since I am not entirely sure this song was good to begin with. It’s the rocking out on the down beat that does it in for me. On the flip side, it’s good to see Carol Channing getting steady work again.
Journey – SEPARATE WAYS
Even the most die-hard metalhead will admit to the powerhouse talent that is Steve Perry and to the awesomeness of this song, no matter how lame and sad this video portrays them all. Journey should have issued a fatwā on the dude who put this crap together.
We have finally reached the top of the crap heap, to the musical spooge floating to the top of the bad video barrel. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the shiniest turd of them all:
Billy Squier – ROCK ME TONIGHT
Poor, poor Billy Squier. No musical career has been harmed by a video performance more than Richard Simm- uh, I mean, Billy Squier’s. ROCK ME TONIGHT was Billy’s biggest hit before this video came out, which makes me wonder who fell asleep at the wheel and hit “go” on this piece of musical holocaust. DISCLAIMER: Pregnant women and people with heart conditions should refrain from watching the following video:
There you have it, folks. My personal list of bad videos that ruined good musicians. If you can think of any I missed, feel free to leave them in the comments. On that note I will leave you with a palate cleanser from my youth. Please to enjoy, WINGER. Feel free to listen with the sound off.
I’ll admit that it’s been a while since I’ve visited blogworld, but this time I have a good reason:
I met Neil Gaiman.
That’s right; I met honest to goodness Neil Gaiman at a book signing for his latest creation:
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
I, along with about 100 other lucky individuals, sat enraptured for two hours listening to him speak about his new book and his old books and what it means to be a writer. I gladly waited another three hours in line just to have him sign my copy of American Gods- three hours I spent rehearsing what it was I would say to him when I finally, after twenty years of fandom so intense it is almost embarrassing, had the chance. Here’s how it went:
NEIL: [reading the post-it with my name on it stuck to my book] “So you are H.E. Ellis, then?”
[Neil begins to sign book. Silence ensues]
NEIL: “It is wonderful to see people using initials again.”
[Neil hands me my book]
NEIL: “There you are.”
ME: “Thank you.”
[I turn and walk away]
I am sure there was drool involved, not to mention I’d been sweating inside a church for five hours and probably smelled like Texas roadkill.
Even if he were offended, I am sure he would never say. Neil Gaiman is without a doubt the most soft-spoken and humble celebrity I have ever encountered. This man makes himself available to those who come out to see him (those who don’t become catatonic at the sight of him anyway) and never behaves like the diva he has earned the right to be. I harbor no delusions that my writing will ever receive the acclaim his has, but I will tell you with certainty that I will do my best to, “Make good art,” simply because I was blessed with the opportunity to receive his advice.
Return tomorrow for a blog post about what I did the NEXT day. Until then, MAKE GOOD ART.
Hold onto your garders people, because this next interviewee works red, white and blue. To commemorate the Fourth of July and a belated Flag Day we sit down with our nation’s favorite seamstress, the ever saucy Betsy Ross (Sparklebumps).
*** So tell me, Ms. Ross, what was it like being raised in a strict religious household?
As I was growing up, I never noticed that anything was amiss with regards to my religious upbringing. I was taught the ways of God and that to stray from them was a sin. It was until I met John that perhaps there was something more to life than praying and confession.
*** It seems you were quite the rebellious young woman. Tell us about your early love affair and your elopement with your husband, John.
I must point out, H.E., that I detest the word “rebellious”. I prefer the term “incorrigible.” No one has ever made me do something I didn’t want to do, and once I set my mind to do something, I do it, no matter what the reaction. That includes my elopement with John. My family was so upset I was excommunicated from our Quaker community. But every decision I made was worth it, because John was my one true love, and anyway, who could pass up the amazing honeymooning sex?
*** After John was killed in battle you went on to marry two more times which was nearly unheard of during the early 1700’s. How do you attribute your success in finding men?
I must be honest when I say that I’m not sure what it is that attracted all the men to me. I suppose my breasts may have had something to do with it, and my obnoxious need for love and affection…
*** I am going to quote Wikipedia here: “There is speculation that Betsy was the “beautiful young widow” who distracted Carl von Donop in Mount Holly, New Jersey, after the Battle of Iron Works Hill, thus keeping his forces out of the Battle of Trenton.” What was it like being so desirable that you potentially altered the future of a nation?
Women have been the cause for wars and the downfalls of countries for centuries. Just look at Helen of Troy. The main thing is to not let it go to your head.
*** Where did you get the idea for the design of the American Flag?
Well, I will let you in on a little secret here. I’m into S&M a bit, and I was asked to design the flag right before I had a more than satifying… encounter. There was blood striping my freshly-washed white sheets, and that’s where the idea for the stripes came from. The stars I thought of because I tried to think of the most beautiful and sparkly thing I could think of to represent each state of glittery happiness our country had. Voila!
*** If you hadn’t made the flag, what would you like to have made instead?
If I hadn’t made the flag, I probably would have designed amazing satiny dresses for prostitutes, so as to give them a semblance of class.
*** What’s history’s biggest misconception about Betsy Ross?
The biggest misconception? ALL women who misbehave are misconceived. You know what they say- “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” I guarantee you wouldn’t be interviewing me if I had remained a Quaker. XOXO
Father’s Day is upon us and with it an interview from the ultimate patriarch, Father Time.
*Good Afternoon, uh…is there such a thing as a time reference like “afternoon” in your reality?
Why wouldn’t there be? I’m just like you, missy. Minus the white beard. But don’t worry. It’s nothing a little electrolysis can’t help you with. (Bursts out laughing and slaps his knee). Man, I slay me! See what I did there?
I took the white beard reference and applied it to you! Since this is a print interview, people will think you have a white beard! Haha!
*Yes, I got it. Hilarious.
I know, right? I missed my calling, but relatively speaking stand-up comedy is a new thing. What would I have done before what you people call the 20th century? Wear a jester’s hat? No way. I have my pride. Plus, have you ever seen a comedian with such impressive biceps?
What? You want me to flex?
*No, thanks. Do time references like “afternoon” exist in your reality?
Oh, that. No offense, sweetie, but that’s dumb question. I mean I’m sitting here with you, aren’t I? In the afternoon. I would think the answer is obvious.
*It’s not afternoon everywhere.
Hey, don’t get all smart-ass and technical. Although I am everywhere I can’t be everywhere. I have to be somewhere, even if I am everywhere. So wherever I am, which doesn’t mean everywhere, is where I am. And when I am there, like I am here, I follow the clock like everyone else. By the way, do you know why clocks die?
Because their time is up! Haha! Get it? You see when people die other people say their time was up. So when you apply that to clocks it takes on a whole new double meaning!
*That begs for your thoughts on how we measure time.
You mean how I taught you to measure time. The truth is you people need structure and organization. Have you looked in your closets? So I gave it to you. However, to be fair, precision rocks my world. Without some sort of time structure your life would be chaotic, but mine would be completely different. I wouldn’t be a celebrity, for one. I’d only be that guy with the amazing bod and killer sense of humor. No one would call me Father Time which would be tragic since my given name is Vivien. Hey, wanna see my pecs?
*Since you’ve been around forever you must have witnessed some amazing moments in history. Can you tell us which event was your favorite?
Been around forever? Is that some sort of age crack?
*Of course not. All I’m saying is you are a man of experience.
That’s true. I am. I get a little sensitive when people start talking about age because it is saddled with all these pre-conceived notions. So what if I have a few trillion miles under my belt? I’m still sharper than a Ginsu knife. Not only that, I have quads to die for.
*I’m sure you do. Now back to your favorite moment in history. When was it?
Right now, baby. (winks)
*Which event did history get wrong?
It would be easier to answer which event history got right.
*Okay, which event did history get right?
What? Do I look like some sort of history expert? (Doubles over in laughter.) Sucker! You fell right into that one! Am I killing it or what? Dane Cook couldn’t touch me on his best day! Haha!
*Is there a special lady friend in your life?
Look at me. What do you think? This magic doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work and let me tell you, the ladies appreciate it. One peek at my lats will convince you.
*I’m flattered, but let’s keep this professional.
Oh I’ll keep it professional alright, sugar.
*I have no idea what that means. Do you have any inside information on the Mayans and their world-end predictions?
They were a fun-loving group, the Mayans. Did a bit too much peyote, which is never a good thing. I’ll tell you this much though. Even when the world ends, time will continue. Which means – cha-ching! – I have nothing to worry about.
*What is the one thing most people get wrong about you?
That I’m a “father”. I’m not. I challenge anyone to produce a paternity test that says otherwise. And if they do show me a test it better be multiple choice. Haha!
This bit of Father’s Day diversion brought to you by the mad genius of John at Trask Avenue. For more holiday fun read Iconic Interviews– some of the best bloggers around the ‘sphere coming together for a good cause and a lot of laughs. Pick up a copy today.
For a larger image – click at your own risk
Hellis here, taking a quick break from the grind to remind you it’s almost time for the release of the Blogger Compilation Project, F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES! If you’ve signed on to contribute please submit your story as soon as possible. The moment I have all contributions in I’ll release your book! All contributions should be sent to heellisgoa (at) gmail (dot) com
Our two newest contributions are offered by the sweet but sassy Sandylikeabeach as well as the never bland VanillaMom. Check these two ladies out for some inspiration for your own Fairy Tale!
For more of the Blogger Compilation Project read the novella,
– The world’s most beloved holiday icons presented in a collection of irreverent interviews that take on the backstory of their imagined existences.
Pinch me because I must be dreaming. Today we have another amazing addition to the Blogger Compilation Project better known as F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES (I know, I know, the asterisk fools no one, but I’m trying to class my blog up, okay?)
Anyway, this little bit o’ tome comes from none other than our very own Beach Bunny Sandy Floyd, better known to Blogworld as Sandylikeabeach. Her take on the classic Thumbelina is as witty, clever and brilliant as this tiny writing powerhouse is herself. Please to enjoy, A TINY THUMBELINA TALE.
by Sandy Floyd
It was a dark and stormy night. Not really, but I always wanted to start the story of my life with that line. I have no idea if it was a dark and stormy night on the night of my birth or if I was even born at night. I was just a baby so I have no clear memories of the event. I’m not even sure I should start at the beginning. So let’s begin again.
I’m special. Well, as special as a person can be in a world populated by people, each one thinking he or she is special. Of course, if we’re all special, then special isn’t really special. It’s ordinary. It is the normal order of things. But I’m the Abby Normal of ordinary though my name isn’t Abby.
I wish it was Abby. Christ! I got stuck with an awful name. I swear to God, if there is one, that if I ever have children I will not stick them with some cutesy or super esoteric or just plain fucking weird name. And the lovely name that was bestowed on me? Thumbelina. What the fuck? Who names a kid Thumbelina? What the hell is a Thumbelina? I loathed my name. I shortened it to Tina. However, there was always that one teacher who insisted on calling every child by his or her proper name, no nicknames allowed. And of course, the first day of school each year my embarrassing name would be called out and I would have to acknowledge it and then say, “But I just go by Tina.” Then the more compassionate teachers would make a note on their rosters but the damage was done. The more obnoxious poets among my class liked to chant “Tiny Tina, Thumbelina” whenever I happened by.
Of course, even without the embarrassing weird name, I still would have been teased because of the tiny thing. Just as it’s not easy being green, it’s not easy being tiny and tiny is what I am though I’m not green and tiny, just tiny. Though now that I think about it, if green is the color of your species, then how hard can it be to be green? And if tiny is the size of your species, then being tiny wouldn’t be hard either, but tiny is not the size of my species so being tiny is not easy except that it is easy to be overlooked and easy to be treated like a child and easy to be thought of as younger than you really are which will be nice when I get older.
I am a very small person though not dwarf small, and unlike most dwarfs, I am exquisitely proportioned. But if other people didn’t feel compelled to state the obvious by telling me how small I am, I would rarely think about my lack of height unless I needed to get something off the top shelf at the grocery store. Of course, I’m sure one of the functions of the lowest shelf is to serve as a step for those of us who are vertically challenged to reach the stuff we need that is always on the top shelf. And I will admit to always being surprised when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or some sort of reflective surface standing next to a normal sized person. Honest to God, again, if there is one, I look like a miniature person.
So despite all my name loathing during my formative years living on a farm with my foster mother after being abandoned as an infant with a note pleading for someone to take care of “our little Thumbelina” thus dooming me to a lifetime of name loathing and forever linking me to a shadowy group of people with weird names, my feelings about my name took a somewhat nuanced turn. Translation: I figured out how to cash in.
Upon my successful completion of high school, I knew college was a financial impossibility. I also knew that I did not want to spend the best years of my life waiting on people be it as a waitress or a retail worker. Cubicle life sounded no better. So having no moral compass, or any compass at all, I decided to put my decidedly good looks, flexibility and passion for my passion to good use. I became a tiny stripper and Thumbelina was my tiny stripper name even though that name is not tiny and doesn’t often, or possibly ever, come up in that internet what is your stripper name thing. But I was dancing and dancing made me happy. It also made me money.
Now some people might think stripping is demeaning and they have valid arguments and indeed, I would agree it is demeaning if the stripping is involuntary. However, if stripping is a personal choice, there is power in that choice. And pardon the obvious use of the word, but stripped of its moral questions, at its heart, it is art expressed in a very specific form of dance. The best strippers embrace this. I know I did, and I was one of the best. I even won the International Pole Dance Championship a couple of years ago. Though to be fair, Miss Australia probably would have won if she hadn’t had that embarrassingly awkward slide down the pole. A little lube goes a long way.
You might not think that a strip club would be the best place to meet the love of your life and before it happened to me, I would have agreed with you, but then it happened to me though the actual meeting thing took place in a coffee shop across the street from the club, but that first sighting was in the club. He was part of a bachelor party though not the part that was The Bachelor. He was just one of The Bachelor’s buddies helping The Bachelor celebrate one of his last nights of bachelorhood.
He didn’t look like the usual regulars, but boy, did he look good. He had this tall, dark and handsome bad boy with the scruffy beard thing going on even though he wasn’t particularly tall or dark, but he was definitely handsome. And he had that scruffy beard thing which looks great on a male model, though male might be redundant because no one ever thinks a scruffy beard would look good on a female model, but I’m not typically a fan of the scruffy facial hair decision. It’s not even a decision. It’s a mark of indecision. Make a choice, already. Grow a beard or shave, but damn, it looked good on him.
I could have looked at him all night. I didn’t, because I also wanted my usual haul of tips and it’s not just the dancing that does the trick, you have to make eye contact and smile at everyone to make the most tips. But I did glance his way every now and then, and each time, he was looking at me, but not in the way the usual strip club attendee does. When our eyes would meet, he smiled ever so slightly. It was warm and sweet and it felt like we were the only two people in the room.
After my shift that night, a couple of the other dancers and I headed to the coffee shop for our usual after work confab. We settled in a booth and that’s when I noticed him. He was at the counter and he was alone. I’ve never been a big fan of fate, but fate might be a fan of me, because as fate would have it, Amber’s phone rang.
“Ugh, that was the sitter,” she said as she returned her phone to her handbag. “I’ve got to get home.”
“Nothing serious, I hope.”
“No. Jason has a touch of a fever so I need to get home. See you later, TIna.”
“You going, too?” I asked Nina.
“Yeah, she’s my ride tonight. Good night, TIna.”
“Bye NIna, bye Amber. Hope Jason’s feeling better soon.”
The girls had no sooner walked out the door when the scruffy beard guy appeared at my table.
“Mind if I join you? I’ve never been a fan of eating alone.” His voice was like velvet – soft and smooth. A voice that could be on the radio, maybe a classic rock station or maybe even smooth jazz although much of what smooth jazz stations play isn’t even jazz, it’s more yesterday’s pop and soft rock.
“Um,” I hesitated because it’s usually not a good idea to get involved with customers, but he was good looking and he smelled good, or maybe that was the bacon cooking in the kitchen, but he looked and seemed to smell good enough to eat and I was hungry.
“It’s just a little food and conversation,” he said. And then he smiled.
“Yeah, company would be great.” I smiled back.
He slid into the booth across from me and smiled that smile. “I’m Cooper.”
I wasn’t sure if Cooper was his first name or last name, so I asked. My foster mom always told me I shouldn’t ask too many personal questions too soon, but how else do you find out stuff that you’d be wondering about and all that wondering would keep you from being able to concentrate on the conversation. And I was going to need all the help with concentration because I wasn’t really thinking about having a conversation with him, if you catch my drift.
“It’s my first name. It’s a little unusual but I like it.”
“It’s a great name. I’m..”
“Thumbelina. The tiny dancer.”
“I go by TIna.”
“How’d you come up with Thumbelina for a stage name?”
“It’s my real name. And you thought Cooper was unusual.”
He laughed and his laugh was even better than his smile. “Well, I think Thumbelina is a beautiful name. It rhymes with ballerina and you are an exquisitely beautiful dancer.”
He had me at ‘exquisitely,’ or maybe he had me at ‘mind if I join you.’ It doesn’t really matter when he had me, much like it doesn’t matter when the heart finds love, only that it does and mine did that night. We talked for hours or it seemed that way. At last, we noticed the night was easing into dawn and we made our way to the parking lot. He asked me where I was parked and I pointed to my car.
“I’m right next to you,” he said.
“That’s your bike? It’s gorgeous.” Though I didn’t add ‘just like you,’ but I was thinking it.
“Yeah, you like bikes?”
“I’ve never been on one but it looks like fun.”
“It’s just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on.”
“I always thought that about dancing, but of course, I don’t always keep my clothes on for that.”
He laughed. “Here’s my number. Call me and we’ll go for a ride. And you can keep your clothes on the whole time.”
I smiled at him and climbed in my car. “It was nice meeting you, Cooper.”
“See you soon, tiny dancer.”
A few days later I had my first bike ride. I climbed on the bike behind him and as I wrapped my arms around his waist I said, “I think this is going to be the best part of the ride.”
He laughed. “Not by a long shot. Hang on.”
And off we went. He was partially right. Holding on to him wasn’t the best part, but it wasn’t the best part by a long shot. It was a very close second. The ride was exhilarating. Sitting behind him, looking over his shoulder, the wind in my face was a great feeling. We spent the afternoon on country roads, stopping here and there to admire the scenery or grab a bite to eat.
It was just like one of those Hollywood movie montages the writers employ because they suck at writing dialogue. And it did feel like one of those too good to be true but wouldn’t it be lovely if it could happen to me Hollywood scenarios right up until it turned into a killer zombie movie but without the killer zombies, but Killer Bees instead. But not African killer bees, but the biker gang. I know it sounds like a silly name, but the backs of their jackets have this evil looking killer bee and they used a sinister typeface for the name, so it doesn’t just sound silly, it looks silly, too. But I kept my silly thoughts to myself.
We ran into the Killer Bees at Roady Toadies, a little dive bar on the outskirts of town. Of course, we didn’t know the bikes we saw outside meant there were Killer Bees inside. In fact, Cooper said he recognized one of the bikes as belonging to a friend of his. We walked inside and let our eyes adjust to the light after being in the bright sun. Cooper spotted his friend and we headed over to where he was sitting.
“Jack, this is Thumbelina. Thumbelina, this is my good friend, Jack Sparrow.”
“Like the Johnny Depp character?”
“No,” Jack said. “I had the name first but I like to think he got his character’s inspiration from me.”
Cooper laughed and said, “I think he got the inspiration from Keith Richards.”
I smiled at Jack. “Nice to meet you, Jack.”
“Likewise. Thumbelina, huh? That’s not a name you hear everyday.”
“No, it’s not,” I replied, except that I was hearing it more today then I usually do and right about then, a loud voice behind me bellowed my name again.
“Thumbelina! I’d recognize that ass anywhere even covered in jeans.”
I turned around and there was the biggest Killer Bee I had ever seen. Of course, it was the first Killer Bee I had ever seen so thinking it was the biggest one ever was a big mistake. Behind the loudmouth Killer Bee, were more Killer Bees and they were even bigger than Mr. Bigmouth which was how I was coming to think of him. Mr. Bigmouth didn’t look familiar and I had never seen men attired in Killer Bee attire in the Pussycats club. But he was looking at me, the way hungry men look at a grilled steak.
And before I could reply, Mr. Bigmouth looked around at his buddies and said, “Boys, this is your lucky day. We have a celebrity in our midst. This here itty bitty thing is Thumbelina, stripper extraordinaire!” Then he looked at me and said, “I watch your World Pole Dance routine on YouTube all the time.” He glanced at Cooper and added, “She won the championship a couple of years ago. You know that?”
“No, I didn’t, but I can’t say I’m surprised. She is quite extraordinary.”
If I hadn’t already fallen in love with Cooper, I would have right then especially since he didn’t know about how Miss Australia should have won except for that embarrassing slip or in her case, slide down the pole.
But Mr. Bigmouth wasn’t done. “Why don’t you dance for us Thumbelina? Just climb right up on the bar and show us what you got.”
“You can see me dance at Pussycats,” I replied in an even tone.
“I want to see you dance right now!”
Cooper stepped between us, “Leave the lady alone.”
“She ain’t no lady.”
And then Cooper slugged Mr. Bigmouth.
“I’m not a fan of double negatives either, but I usually refrain from hitting the illiterate,” I said to him.
“I would have slugged him even if he was grammatically correct. No one gets away with saying you’re not a lady.”
But before we could congratulate ourselves on just how clever our repartee was becoming, all hell broke loose. It was the three of us, okay two of us because I’m not much good in a fight and I’m really tiny, against all those Killer Bees. Fists were flying, glass was breaking and I was ducking. I could feel strong arms around me pulling me backwards and then everything went dark.
I wasn’t unconscious, just locked in a closet. I banged on the door, but I guess Cooper couldn’t hear me over all the noise of the fight and last I saw, he and Jack seemed to be on the losing end. After what seemed like an hour but was probably much shorter because everything seems to take longer when you’re locked inside a closet, I heard what sounded like a gunshot. My heart stopped, but not because I got shot but because I was afraid of who might have. I could hear voices but I couldn’t make out what was being said or who was talking. Then it got quiet again, so I started banging on the door and screaming to be let out.
The door opened and a rather mousey looking woman was standing there.
“It’s all right, dear. Toadie put you in there. He thought you’d be safer in there.” She smiled at me and there was kindness in her eyes.
“Toadie is a real person?” I couldn’t believe how many people had parents that made such bad choices when naming their kids.
The mousey woman laughed. “Oh, he’s real all right, but Toadie is a nick name he picked up when he was a roadie for Z Z Top back in the day. I’m Mrs. Fields, Toadie’s mother. I help out in the kitchen.”
I refrained from asking her for a chocolate chip cookie and instead asked about my friends.
“Well, they’re a little banged up, but no permanent damage. Come and see for yourself.”
She led me through the kitchen and into the bar. I spotted Toadie right away because he looked like a toad, kind of like how that senator looks like a turtle. Toadie was holding a shotgun but when he saw me, he smiled and said, “Sorry to stick you in the closet like that, but a bar fight is no place for such a pretty little lady.”
“No worries, Toadie. Thanks for looking out for me.” I was looking around for Cooper and Jack. “Where are my friends?”
“They’re in the john cleaning themselves up. Those Killer Bees did a number on them, but as badass as they think they are when you point a shotgun in their general direction and let it discharge, they run away like little girls.”
I laughed. Then I heard a noise behind me.
“She does have an incredible ass, Coop.”
I turned around and flew into Cooper’s arms. “Everything about her is incredible,” Cooper replied.
“I think I’m in love,” I sighed.
He smiled at me, “I know I am.”
Jack said his goodbyes and left the bar. Cooper looked at me, “Ready to ride off into the sunset to that happily ever after place?”
“I’ve always wanted to do that. Especially if that place has a bed big enough for two.”
He held my hand as we walked out of the bar. We climbed on his bike and he looked back at me.
“Too bad it’s midnight,” he said.
“Midnight will do.”
Every so often there comes a moment when we see ourselves through another person’s eyes. Determining whether that’s good or bad depends entirely on what we see. Most of my epiphanies are delivered in the form of my sister telling me my ass looks fat in my jeans, whether I ask for her opinion or not.
Commentary on my fat ass or bad breath I can handle, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the reality of personal feedback in the form of reviews for my novella, Reapers With Issues.
Before I begin I’d like to state that every reader who reviewed my work negatively did not condemn me personally for what I’d written, despite not particularly enjoying the book. I’ve read reviews of other books where the reviewer took the author to task, and I am happy to say I’ve been blessed with a classy group of readers who didn’t feel the need to blast me.
I guess what confounds me most is that I expected there to be more blow back for subject matter. Portraying Jesus as a closet homosexual and writing a scene where Genghis Khan violates a shi-tzu wasn’t going to win me an audience with the Pope, and I knew that going in. I also prepared myself for a critique of the quality of the writing itself, which as it turns out I didn’t receive much of. What I did get was essentially the same question, asked in so many words, of what kind of person could conceive of the Reapers idea at all. Again, good or bad depends entirely on what we see.
[enter the dreaded introspection process]
The first thing I did was try to answer the question of what kind of person I am. Despite an obscene amount of navel-gazing I am no closer to that answer now than I was when I began. My motivation to write Reapers With Issues was just as strong and the subject matter just as easy to conceptualize as Gods of Asphalt’s was, so identifying a specific default in thinking didn’t pan out. The truth is that I’ve got a hundred different stories buzzing around in my head; everything from harmless children’s stories to British comedies to even more Reapers sequels (oddly there’s nothing milling around in there that remotely smacks of Erotica, but that’s a post for another day after an hour on a couch).
So after an even more shameless bought of self-contemplation I began to ask myself a different question, “Why do any of us write what we write?”
Do we choose our genre or subject matter because of who we are, or because of what we make of the world around us? I imagine it’s no coincidence that Reapers With Issues was written during the darkest hours of a friend’s battle with cancer, or that Gods of Asphalt was written while stuck in bed, listening to my two teenaged sons bicker amongst themselves and argue with their father.
It is also not lost on me that I wrote Reapers With Issues from a third-person point-of-view, allowing me to observe at a distance the story of a Reaper whose best efforts to gather souls are thwarted by a Savior, or that the overall theme of Gods of Asphalt is how brothers cope when their mother isn’t around.
I suppose in the end what we choose to write comes from the harmony of both who we are and what we see. I’ve learned that whether my writing is received as harmony or dischord depends entirely on who’s doing the reading, and no amount of alteration of my “music” will accommodate everyone.
For the record, I’m fine with that. I am a Jazz fan, after all.