Friday, December 26, 2014

Top 10 Movies of 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – A better subtitle would have been The Battle to Keep Me from Falling Asleep.  But it would have lost.  Actually, I didn’t see this movie, but I did fall asleep during King Kong and when I woke up I vowed never to see another Peter Jackson film.

Unbroken – Again, I didn’t see this one, but I did read the book and I came away thinking the sharks got a bum rap.

Annie – This is one I actually did see back in 1986.  I thought Carol Burnett was spectacular.  I saw no reason to watch another remake.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – I remember when this one came out the first time.  I didn’t see it then, and I decided to keep the streak alive. 

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tombs. Here’s a secret.  They should not make any more of these movies. Tell everyone.

Horrible Bosses 2 – I remember watching the first Horrible Bosses and thinking, “Well, at least they can’t possibly make a sequel to this horrible movie.”

Dumb and Dumber To – Here’s something dumb.  Take a movie created for 14-year-olds and then re-make it when the actors are 70. 

The Expendables 3 – Like the first 2 movies, I found this one expendable and did not go see it.

Exodus – While I have not seen this movie, I did read the Old Testament, and I must say I was not impressed by the ending.

Inherent Vice – They say Thomas Pynchon books are un-filmable, however, I filmed my copy of Gravity’s Rainbow no problem.  It turns out a book sitting on a table is not as compelling I had hoped.  After I burned the print, I just didn’t have the energy to go see Inherent Vice.

The Theory of Everything – I have a theory.  It’s that most movies are terrible and overpriced and only 14-year-olds who want to get out of the house are willing to pay to go see them.  So it’s surprising when someone puts out a movie about Stephen Hawking and his wife.  It’s almost enough to make me watch it when it finally gets released through a digital streaming outlet.  But then I think about Hawking doing all those Simpsons episodes and popping up everywhere and now this, and I think, “What happened to you, Man?  It used to be about the science.”

The Interview – I’m all in favor of freedom and everything, but I choose to exercise my freedom by not watching this movie.  I will, however, encourage people to watch this much shorter video (less than two minutes) with the same name.  The Interview

By now you may have realized that I did not go see any movies in 2014.  I hope that did not stop you from reading this list.  While I may not be qualified to review movies, I did see several on Netflix and I read like 4 books.  Thanks for your time.

Purvis McGrew is head movie reviewer for the Daily Brass. See also Top 10 Movies of 2013, An Open Letter to Thomas Pynchon, Christamar's Youtube Cartoons.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Hernia Man Episode 3 of 4

full playlist:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How the News Became Corrupted

At one time, the news mattered.  People tuned into the nightly news, or read a newspaper, to learn the truth about the day’s events. 

But over time, the news media landscape fractured.  There were no longer three channels and a hand-full of good newspapers.  Technology advanced and the internet provided a megaphone to anyone who wanted one.  

People managed to find like-minded souls all over the world and migrated to them, allowing some to build large followings.  Those who practiced and studied discovered that the articles that were most read, and most shared, and most commented on were those that stirred an emotional response.  Some, like cat videos, stirred warm feelings.  Liberal and conservative blogs found that readers became the most engaged by stories that inflamed their most fervent political opinions.  

This did not go unnoticed by big traditional news providers, now struggling to maintain relevance while competing with a hundred different cable channels, digital streaming outlets, and about a million different websites. 

Look now to once proud news outlets and you will likely find articles or produced segments that expose your fears or provoke your outrage.  Why?  Because it’s been shown to make you more engaged, and they need people to be engaged in order to sell advertising and maintain profitability.

I no longer trust the media landscape to tell me the truth.  I only trust it to try and manipulate my emotions to serve their agenda.  In turn, this has caused me to disengage.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christamar Varicella's Resume

Relevant Experience, Education, and Momentous Life Changes:

October 2014 – Present
Diverted attention from life of quiet desperation by using the animation software wife gifted for 40th birthday.  Began posting short, funny, poorly animated cartoons on a semi-weekly basis.

September 2014
Conceived third child

July – August 2014
Penned humor novella Dinosaur Ghost in 15 days.  Self-published as an eBook in September. (view trailer)  Grew first beard.

2012 – 2014
Creator/Editor of The Daily Brass.  Online blog type thing devoted to long form comedy, including open letters to celebrity authors, fake book reviews, and parodies.

Conceived second child.

2009 – Present
Middle School Teacher.  Love working with kids, but needless paper work, politics, and bureaucracy lead to that quiet desperation thing mentioned earlier.

June 2012
Completed thriller novel The ReverendAfter three years of revising and working with an agent, the novel is rejected by five different publishers for five different reasons.  Dropped by agent and encouraged to self-publish.  Realized I don’t even like thriller novels.

April 2012
Self-published Too Weird, a collection of funny short stories previously published in literary journals.

Summer 2012
Self-published several children’s books, including The Blue Whale in the Bathtub, illustrated by my sister.  check out her artwork

2007 – 2012
Self-published short stories in small literary journals.

2007 – 2009
Got a job as an assistant teacher at a middle school after restaurant job ends due to recession.

1999 – 2007
Piddled around restaurant industry in while striving to become great American novelist.  Moved from Tuscaloosa, AL to New Orleans to Atlanta area. 

Conceived first child.

2002 – 2004
Earned MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University’s low residency program.

Got married.

1996 – 1999
Struggle by with various jobs including delivery driver and midnight convenience store clerk.

1996 – 2002
Continued to spread gospel.  Eventually discovered religion I founded existed for thousands of years prior to my founding it and that I am in no way affiliated with it.

Underwent profound religious experience while under the influence of powerful psychedelic.  Went on to found new religion. 

1992 – 1996
Earned BA in Political Science and History from University of Alabama.  2.3 gpa.

Graduated High School.  2.3 gpa.

1974 – 1992
Grew up to a certain extent.


Developed into a viable fetus.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hernia Man: Episode 1

More Videos on Christamar's Channel:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Book Trailer for Dinosaur Ghost

Thanks for Watching!  You can find more of my cartoons here:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

New Cartoon: The Debate

In this heated election season, finally there is a candidate we can all agree on.

Thanks for watching!  You can find more of my cartoons here:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

If I was a Comedian Onstage Doing Stand-up, This is What I’d do Today.

To read a previous bit in this series, click here.


I’m a heathen.  Are there any other heathens here tonight?  Wow, a lot of heathens.  I was raised Presbyterian.  My moms says I should go to church for the community aspect.  So people will be there for me if someone close to me dies or something, but I say if people want to help, they’ll do it whether I go to church or not, and if they don’t I don’t want to eat their fucking casserole anyway.

What?  What’d I say?  Jeez, I didn’t know religion was such a touchy subject.  I guess I didn’t get that memo.  I feel like you guys are against me now.  Who would have thought insulting a mob of people could go wrong somehow?

I feel like the guy in the old west that the posse was after.

“Zeke, the posse’s here.  They got us surrounded!”

Zeke: Don’t worry, Earl.  I’ll take care of this. 

Zeke walks outside.

Zeke: (Yelling) Hey!  You guys are all assholes!  What?  Hey, why is everybody shooting at me?


It reminds me of this thing that happened the other day.  I was at my day job because, for some reason my stand-up career isn’t paying the bills, and my boss comes up and starts yelling at me.  I can’t remember what it was about.  Like, maybe I left a machine on, or I left someone in the machine, or I let the machine eat someone.  I can’t remember.  But anyway my boss was really mad at me, so I’m like, “Wait a second.  Are you hitting on me?”

This brought an immediate halt to the string of invectives he was screaming at me.  I didn’t want him to have time to think of a response, so I said, “Listen.  I’m flattered, really, but I’m not into quote unquote “people.”

Naturally, my boss was pretty stunned.  He had this quizzical look on his face, and it was pretty easy then to shift the topic of conversation because he was like, “Wait.  What?”

I knew I had him then.  I said, “You know how some women talk about giving up their flower?  Well, it turns out they are actually just talking about their gross vaginas. 

I, on the other hand, enjoy the company of actual flowers.  They make my penis smell all rosy.  Unless of course they’re violets, in which case they make it smell violet-y.  

At this point, my boss completely forgot why he was yelling at me.

(To audience)

You know, I don’t get you people.  You act like you’ve never heard a guy talking about having sex with flowers or something.  What’s the big deal?  Did I stumble into a convention of florists? 

What the fuck is wrong with fucking flowers?  Hey, that sounds like a pretty good chant.


(Leading chant)  I say flower, you say fucker.  Flower!








All the florists now: We don’t fucking need no fucking flower fuckers!


We don’t fucking need no fucking flower fuckers!

Thank you!  I love you all.  I’m off flowers.  I’m into crowds now.  (thrusting hips)  That’s for this side.  (another hip thrust)  That’s for all of you in the middle area.  (again)  That’s an extra one for you in the brown shirt.  (Pivot and thrust left)  That one’s for the rest of you.  Good night, everybody!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Too Weird is Now Free at Smashwords

My collection of funny/weird stories about wiener dogs, conjoined twins, hypochondriacs and blue whales in bathtubs is currently free across e-formats here.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

This is What My Stand-up Comedy Routine Would Look Like if I Went Onstage Today



I must be getting old.  This morning I threw my back out while I was yawning.



Uh oh.  I did it again.



Oh well.  That’s it.  Good night, Everybody.



I know I still have five minutes left, but I can’t do it.  I’m injured.



But... But... You’re not even paying me.



It’s a free country.  I don’t have to...


I do have to?



You want me to dance?  I don’t think I can do that.  I’m not even a good dancer under regular circumstances.



(TO IMAGINARY PERSON OFFSTAGE) I don’t know how long I can do this.

(TO ANOTHER IMAGINARY PERSON TO MY RIGHT)  What’s that?  I don’t have to keep dancing if I don’t want to.



The person offstage isn’t real?



You mean, not only is there something wrong with my back, there is something is wrong with my head as well?



I should see a doctor?



Oh, you are a doctor.  What kind of...?



Oh, a urologist.  I see.



Say, while I’ve got you here, could you take a look at something for me?



What do you mean you don’t see anything?  (POINTING) It’s right there!



Yes, that.



I know it’s a penus.  What’s that on the side there?



(SHAKING HEAD) No, I don’t think it is funny.  This isn’t a joking matter.


Really?  That’s it?  That’s all you have to say?  Maybe if I don’t think about it, it will go away.



Well, I think I need a second opinion.



I don’t think I should have to give you a $45 copay.  I don’t even have insurance.



What do you mean, then the price goes up to $1500?  You didn’t do anything.



No, I don’t think you stand around all day giving free penus exams, but...



Well, some people would.



Yes they would.  They might even pay me for the privilege.  Some anyway. 



No, I don’t want to look at yours.


Yes it is fair.  Wait, are you even a doctor?



You’re a... You’re a Love Doctor.  You know what?  I think my time is up.  Goodnight Everybody.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

How to Write a Humor Story (Part 1)

Today we examine the steps necessary for creating a humor story.  Over the course of this post, we will in fact create a humor story.  Notice we said “humor” story and not “humorous” story.  If you want to write a humorous story, simply write a regular story and throw in some funny parts.  

In a regular story, character, setting, plot, etc... are all paramount while humor, if present, is secondary.  A humor story, on the other hand, is different in that plot, character, etc... are all considerations secondary to the hilarious premise.

For instance, Dinosaur Ghost, by Christamar Varicella is an example of a humor story.  Dinosaur ghosts return from extinction and start eating republicans because of their stance on gay marriage.  It’s a very silly premise.  Character, plot, theme, structure, etc... are only important in that they serve the comedy of the story.

Whereas, The Blue Whale, by Christamar Varicella, is about a young man on the verge of a crack-up who seeks solace with a hallucinated blue whale in his bathtub.  While the story has certain comedic elements, in this case the comedy serves the overall story while character, setting, theme, etc... are of equal or greater value than the comedy itself.

For the sake of this article, we have decided to go with a premise derived from a conversation we had with our eight-year-old daughter.  A guy goes back to “olden times” and hilarity ensues.  You’ll notice this is pretty basic and rather vague as far as premises go, but we will develop it as we go along.  The reason we chose this premise is because we were slightly amused by her reference to “olden times.”  And while the story has been told before (isn’t this the premise for Hot Tub Time Machine) there is plenty of room for comic exploration. 

Sometimes the decision to write a humor story comes down to a gut reaction.  Humor can usually be found somewhere near the guts.

As any story writer can tell you, having a character is extremely important.  So, let’s brainstorm at least one character (or protagonist) to populate our premise.

Possible characters:

A psychic.  It might be fun to watch a psychic go back in time and still get predictions wrong due to a basic lack of historical understanding. 

A detective.  Might turn into a detective story.

A Know-it-All.  Similar to a psychic.  Audience might enjoy seeing him/her get things wrong.  For the sake of time, and since we’ve already stated that everything takes a backseat to the comedy, let’s just go with this one. We can always make him/her a psychic later.

So now we have this as our premise: A know-it-all goes back to “Olden Times” and gets a lot of things wrong that the reader might know.  Hilarity ensues.

It still sounds a bit hackneyed.  We’ve all seen something like this before.  Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court comes to mind, and people who think they’re smart getting their comeuppance is such a well-worn comedy trope we won’t bother listing examples.  

That’s okay, though.  This is a humor story, perhaps the least known and least popular of all the fiction genres and it’s highly unlikely anyone will read it anyway.  (Oops.  We probably should have saved that bit of information until the end in hopes that you will continue reading.  Oh well. The cat’s out of the bag.)

So how does this character, let’s just call him Bob, travel back to “Olden Times?”  Again, we brainstorm:

1) He just wakes up there. (Boring.)
2) He gets struck by lightening while sitting on the toilet.  (Toilets are always funny.  Will have to explain how lightening was able to circumnavigate the ceiling.  Maybe there is no ceiling.  Maybe the toilet was outside on top of a hill. In any event, a lot of exposition is required.)
3) He hits his head.  (Falling off the toilet?  A little too close to Connecticut Yankee I think.)
4) He drowns. (In the toilet?  Let’s get off the toilet.)
5) He falls into a black hole (Instead of a toilet bowl.  How does that happen?  Is the world destroyed?  Again, too much exposition.)
6) He falls into a regular hole.  (Eureka!)

Guy Falls into a Hole.  It’s got a nice ring.  It nicely follows the standard joke: A Guy Walks into a Bar.  In essence, this tells the story of what happens after the guy leaves the bar.  It turns out, he’s too drunk to drive and he has just enough sense to know it, and since his apartment is only a mile and a half away from the bar, he decides to hoof it. One problem, or complication as they say (there always have to be complications in a story and this will be the first big one, a.k.a. the initial problem), the guy falls into a hole.  It also makes a great title.

When he manages to climb out, he’s in another time, an “olden time” as it were and hilarity ensues. 

A note about form and structure.  There should probably be some sort of form and/or structure.  For this premise, an episodic structure makes sense.  Whenever Bob climbs out of the hole, he enters a new era.  It could be during the Iron Age, or it could be the 1980s.  Every time he goes into the hole, he comes out in a new time period.

As a know-it-all, Bob will instantly size up the situation (wrongly, it will turn out) and hilarity will ensue.  Perhaps he will go in and out of the hole two or three times during the story, making this a longer work, a book even, where each chapter or installment features Bob in a new era, or maybe we will just stick to one moment in time and milk it the best we can. The decision will largely depend on how long we can sustain our interest in Bob and his experiences.  For the sake of simplicity and brevity, we suggest focusing on a single time period.

More brainstorming, this time for the setting (time and place):
1) Prehistoric times.  Maybe in a jungle or something. 

Okay, let’s go with that.

As we know, Bob is a know-it-all who’s going to get his comeuppance, but he is somewhat likable (he elected not to drink and drive after all) and thus he is someone the reader will want to root for as well as laugh at. 

Hmm.  We should probably give the reader a little something extra to help them buy into the story’s conceit, some way for them to suspend their disbelief so they will follow Bob on his journey.

Perhaps, as most of  us do these days, Bob only pays nominal attention to his surroundings due to a fixation with his “smart” phone.  Naturally, Bob will have an iPhone or a Droid or something, but in prehistoric times, it will be impossible to get service.  Therefore, he will constantly be looking at his phone, checking for “bars.” Thus distracted, he will fail to absorb and process all the details and clues provided by his new environment.

You will have noted previously that Bob was a one-dimensional character.  Now we have another, second dimension to add, which, for the sake of a character in a humor story is plenty.  We also have the added bonus of a little social commentary on the modern individual’s dependence on technology.

No doubt, you’ve heard of the Rule of Three in comedy.  Well, we’re going to do one better, and change it to the Rule of Four.  Bob should encounter four funny obstacles in each era before he is driven back into his hole. Each obstacle should become increasingly difficult while gradually filling in the overall picture of the world Bob is inhabiting.

Brainstorming obstacles:
1) Bob notices changes in his environment. He suffers through tropical heat, humidity, and thick prehistoric vegetation.  Rather than recognizing the new world he has entered, however, Bob attributes these minor obstacles to dehydration suffered from last night’s bender and global climate change.  To clear a path, he uses his phone to search for landscapers.  Damn! No service.
2) Bob is attacked by giant prehistoric mosquitoes.  Bob will overcome this obstacle thanks to the handy pocket-sized bottle of bug repellent he carries due to his ever present concerns over Encephalitis and the West Nile Virus (Turns out Bob is a bit of a hypochondriac.  Look, Ma, more character development. Three dimensions, a new record!)
3) Bob comes into contact with a saber tooth tiger.  Naturally, this will draw his attention away from his iPhone.  He will assume he has stumbled upon a mountain lion that has ventured away from its natural habitat in search of food.  Again, he will attribute this to climate change. 

Notice how the obstacles are becoming increasingly difficult to overcome. 

So, how can Bob expect to escape from a saber tooth tiger?  He can’t outrun it and he used up all his bug repellent on the mosquitoes.  He can’t knock it out with his cell phone.  (We might need him to have that later.)  He will likely be too frightened to move.   Yes, he’s frozen in his tracks and the beast is about to devour him when it steps into a trap set by one of Bob’s primitive ancestors.  (Ding Ding Ding!)

4) Bob encounters prehistoric man.  Territorial in nature, lacking basic language/communication skills, and seeking to drive away a competitor from his food supply, prehistoric man will attack Bob with a stone ax.  Bob, seeing the thick beard and unusual clothing, will assume he is being attacked by a deranged hipster. 

That’s four!

The ending writes itself.  Bob turns around and runs away, only to fall back into the same hole from whence he came. There he will stay until we are ready for him to emerge in another era.

Now that we have a basic outline, we need to hammer out a first draft, and then revise carefully, seeking opportunities to expand and elevate (or lower) the humor, then make several more passes through the manuscript with an eye toward repairing errors of  grammar and spelling and increasing fluidity, and then submit the final product to us for review and criticism.  Did we forget to mention that this post requires homework?  Silly us.  We’re so forgetful sometimes.

Assignment: Take the hilarious premise, character(s), plot (with increasing obstacles), setting, theme, and ending provided by us and construct a story in which hilarity ensues.  You may then submit the final product to us at  The winner may or may not receive a few chuckles.  Or we may not read it.  By that time, most likely, we will have moved on to something else.

Guy Falls into a Hole


Christamar Varicella and ?


Monday, July 21, 2014

An Open Letter to Stephen King

Dear Steve (Steph?),

I just finished your book, On Writing.  Pretty scary stuff.  No wonder you are known as the guy who writes horror.

But if you’re the guy who writes horror, how come two of my favorite movies are The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile?  I guess I just like prison movies.  You should think about writing a book set in a prison.  I might read it.

So, I heard you tweet the names of books you like, thus boosting sales for those authors.  I thought maybe you could tweet and like my book Dinosaur Ghost.



Currently the book is only available for free as a pdf, so you’re going to have to tweet really hard if I’m going to make any money on this project.

But I know you can do it.  Anybody who can write three books a year can easily write 12 Dinosaur Ghost-related tweets an hour, seven hours a day, for 363 days a year.  (Go ahead and take this weekend off.)  We’ll split the profits 50-50!

Also, you should probably think of some good blurbs to tweet.  I call them Twurbs.  I’ve taken the liberty of dropping a few choice nuggets for you to choose from.

Dinosaur Ghost gave goosebumps to my Goose, Bumps.  (My goose knows how to read.) - Stephen King

Dinosaur Ghost is the best dinosaur-related pornography I’ve ever read.  (Actually, Jonathan Franzen has dibs on this one.)

Dinosaur Ghost is like a dose of shock mixed with a heaping helping of awe, with a side of mashed potatoes.  Hold the butter.  -Stephen King

Dinosaur Ghost is the one book I wish I’d written, or at least read. -Stephen King.

Just let me know which twurb you want me to start twurbing and using in my promotional material within the next 24 hours (Go!) or else I’ll assume you want me to pick one for you and sign your name to it. 

I’ll close with perhaps the scariest thing I’ve ever read:  “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


Your Friend,

Christamar Varicella

Wanna know which literary heavyweights are lining up to praise Dinosaur Ghost?  An Open Letter to Thomas Pynchon,  An Open Letter to Cormac McCarthyAn Open Letter to Jonathan Franzen