2007-Eleven: And Other American Comediesby Frank Cammuso
Every now and then, funny writing somehow manages to retain full possession of literary quality. Please see Twain, Heller, Benchley, Parker, Frazier, Geng. And now please see Cammuso and Seely. If you
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From the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Slate stagger Frank Cammuso and Hart Seely, restoring a cheerful sanity to our deranged lives and times.
Every now and then, funny writing somehow manages to retain full possession of literary quality. Please see Twain, Heller, Benchley, Parker, Frazier, Geng. And now please see Cammuso and Seely. If you're not some famous person in our hyped, commodified, three-screen (movie, TV, computer), celeb-ridden society, count your blessings. Because if you are, Cammuso and Seely will probably get you sooner or later. They got Martha Stewart--they have her planning gracious plans for her version of the Son of God's final repast: "Jesus has indicated--against my better wishes--that He intends to gird Himself with a towel and wash everybody's feet. So be it. But beforehand, I'll run his terry cloth for five minutes in the dryer, making it toasty and soft." They (fondly) postu-late how Phil Rizzuto might have written a characteristically fractionated version of "Casey at the Bat": "'Fraud!' cried the maddened thousands, and the echo murmured 'Fraud.' / Hey, Murcer! Look! Bea Arthur! Didn't she play Maude?" The Flintstones become the Clintstones, Quentin Tarantino directs The Three Little Pigs, and Dr. Seuss collaborates poetically with Rod Serling.
Even when the targets of these pieces are of the moment, Cammuso and Seely's humor will endure. What's more evanescent than pop-music stardom? Sex, maybe, but not much else. But who won't laugh, even years from now, as Cammuso and Seely--in "Six Degrees of Chuck Berry"--introduce some of the record industry's often interchangeable personages to each other: "Tanya, Enya. Enya, Shania. Shania, Mariah. Mariah, Wynonna. Wynonna, Fiona . . . " Nobody.
From the Hardcover edition.
"These guys are very smart and very funny. And there are TWO of them. I am dead meat." Dave Barry
"Who's on first today? Cammuso and Seely."
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The Xmas Files
Elm Street Bethlehem, PA. 11:51 P.M. December 24
We're too late! It's already been here.
Mulder, I hope you know what you're doing.
Look, Scully-just like the other homes: Douglas fir, truncated, mounted, transformed into a shrine ... halls decked with boughs of holly stockings hung by the chimney, with care.
You really think someone's been here?
Someone ... or something.
Mulder, over here-it's a fruitcake ...
Don't touch it! Those things can be lethal!
It's OK. There's a note attached: "Gonna find out who's naughty and nice."
It's judging them, Scully. It's making a list.
Who? What are you talking about?
Ancient mythology tells of an obese humanoid entity who could travel at great speed in a craft powered by antlered servants. Once each year, near the winter solstice, this creature is said to descend from the heavens to reward its followers and punish disbelievers with jagged chunks of anthracite.
But that's legend, Mulder-a story told by parents to frighten children. Surely you don't believe it?
Something was here tonight, Scully. Check out the bite marks on this gingerbread man. Whatever tore through this plate of cookies was massive and in a hurry.
It left crumbs everywhere. And look, Mulder, this milk glass has been completely drained.
It gorged itself, Scully. It fed without remorse.
But why would they leave it milk and cookies?
Appeasement. Tonight is the Eve, and nothing can stop its wilding.
But if this thing does exist, how did it get in? The doors and windows were locked. There's no sign of forced entry.
Unless I miss my guess, it came through the fireplace.
Wait a minute, Mulder. If you're saying some huge creature landed on the roof and came down this chimney, you're crazy. The flue is barely six inches wide. Nothing could get down there.
But what if it could alter its shape, move in all directions at once?
You mean, like a bowl full of jelly?
Exactly. Scully, I've never told anyone this, but when I was a child, my home was visited. I saw the creature. It had long white shanks of fur surrounding its ruddy, misshapen head. Its bloated torso was red and white. I'll never forget the horror. I turned away, and when I looked back, it had somehow taken on the facial features of my father.
I know what I saw. And that night, it read my mind. It brought me a Mr. Potato Head, Scully. It knew that I wanted a Mr. Potato Head!
I'm sorry, Mulder, but you're asking me to disregard the laws of physics. You want me to believe in some supernatural being who soars across the skies and brings gifts to good little girls and boys. Listen to what you're saying. Do you understand the repercussions? If this gets out, they'll close the X files.
Scully, listen to me: It knows when you're sleeping. It knows when you're awake.
But we have no proof.
Last year on this exact date, SETI radio telescopes detected bogeys in the airspaces over twenty-seven states. The White House ordered a Condition Red.
But that was a meteor shower.
Officially. Two days ago, eight prized Scandinavian reindeer vanished from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Nobody-not even the zookeeper-was told about it. The government doesn't want people to know about Project Kringle. They fear that if this thing is proved to exist, the public will stop spending half its annual income in a holiday shopping frenzy. Retail markets will collapse. Scully, they cannot let the world believe this creature lives. There's too much at stake. They'll do whatever it takes to insure another silent night.
Sh-h-h. Do you hear what I hear?
On the roof. It sounds like ... a clatter.
The truth is up there. Let's see what's the matter.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Meet the Author
Frank Cammuso draws editorial cartoons for the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, New York. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Village Voice.
Hart Seely is an award-winning reporter for the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, New York. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New Republic, National Lampoon, The Village Voice, and Spy magazine. He is married and has three children.
From the Hardcover edition.
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This book is a comedic blend of Andy Rooney meets Drew Carey. This is one book I would choose to be stranded on a deserted island with. Or at least on the show survivor.