Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Manuscripts Burn: The Blog That Saves You $$$ (Redux!)

Thinking of seeing Liam Neeson Yells The Movie's Premise this weekend? (Oops, sorry. Wrong link. I actually meant Taken II: The Dumbening Down.) Well, to be fair, it did score higher on Rotten Tomatoes than Boy, Adam Sandler Keeps Getting Older But His Love Interests Stay the Same Age. So, what does the Manuscripts Burn movie critic think of all this?

Well, I was going to be a dick and "spoil" the movie by revealing the lazy man's M. Night Shyamalan-style twist which would have saved you otherwise having to go see it. But, to be frank, even twisted, bitter old Redleg isn't that big of a dick. I won't "ruin" the ending for you. (The director took care of that for me. Zing!) So, I will say this: in all fairness, I could really sympathize with the main character, except, instead of having my whole life stolen, I just feel like I had two hours of my life stolen.

Don't see this moronic movie.

There, I just saved you nine fucking dollars.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ha ha ha ha ha

So, I'm trying to get something through my head. There's a lot of things that I understand regarding this. For one thing, we are a very jaded people today. We analyze and over-analyze every commercial we see and snort dirisively at plot holes in sitcoms that twenty years ago no one would have even noticed, or, if they had, wouldn't have bothered to comment on. Pop culture is increasingly becoming a sacred cow. It needs to approach perfection to be taken seriously, and even then you can't really earn your three teardrop tattoo of being a nerd unless you can tear down something that everyone else holds dear. (Like The Bible. Or Star Wars.)

And I further understand that the United States, even back in the 70's, was culturally quite different from the Soviet Union. Without having visited either place, I can only imagine what the blind spots in people's lifeviews were, comparatively speaking. But even with all that rattling around in my head there's still a picture I can't get out of my mind.

Picture this: you are a member of a typical Soviet family, circa the mid '70s. Khruschev is in the rearview. Afghanistan hasn't been invaded yet. It's a time of relative peace, but, still, the Cold War rages on in every household. Not only are you a member of a typical Soviet family, you're even a little on the upper side of things. Your uncle, perhaps, is a local politburo chief, or your mother is a well-respected factory manager. You have a little bit of material wealth, not that such things should matter in a socialist utopia, but, hey, still, perqs are perqs. You own a television. You've been inundated by the propoganda and the propogandistic entertainment all your life. You know what it's like. You know what to expect.

Then, one day, you're watching the useful idiot box, and this comes on. What do you do? I keep thinking, what did the people that this bit of pop culture ephemera was geared for think of it at the time it was first broadcast to them? Were they so inured to the presumably bizarre variety of the shows that it passed by without a blip? Did they all exchange a glance and a raised eyebrow, perhaps whisper about it in hushed tones to trusted friends at work the next day but not make a big deal out of it? Did everyone simply burst out laughing at the weirdness of it all, and then, simply because they were afraid to criticize the state, never mentioned it again?

As unlikely as this may be, if you lived in the Soviet Union and have any recollection at all of our recently beloved Eduard Khil, please let me know your memories in the comments. Otherwise, just pretend you were and let me know how you "reacted." The best comment will receive a special prize. Extra points for verisimilitude.

Monday, February 14, 2011

10 Reasons why She's All That is the Greatest Movie Ever Made

Since, incredibly, I couldn't find an extant link for all the reasons why She's All That (German Title: Eine Wie Keine) is the greatest movie ever made, I have been forced to make my own. Thanks a lot, internet. You were supposed to have everything on you!

10. It Was The Nineties - Come on! The boom times! The Clinton Years! Ol' Post-Eighties! How can you even think about this decade and not think, "Damn, were we ever on a collision course for hell but didn't know it. At least we enjoyed the ride!"

9. Rachael Leigh Cook - This was the actress that was in it.

8. She Learned That She Was Beautiful on the Inside - See, most movies, including the infinitely inferior She's All That knockoff Just Go With It only emphasize beauty if it's on the outside. In She's All That Laney learned that, although she was also incredibly physically attractive, it was her artiness and refusal to accept society's conventions that made her truly "hot." Take that, society!

7. The Dad - Oh, my God, the dad was hilarious. It was, like, Kevin Spacey or somebody. And he spent the whole movie walking around answering the wrong answers to Jeopardy! questions. Like, totally wrong answers. Like, I can't really think of an example right now, but it would be something like:

Q: This is a movie about a teen beauty queen from 1999.

A: Raging Bull!

Hilarious! That schtick never gets old.

6. Hackey-Sack! - Oh my God, remember the Nineties? When there were Furbies on every corner and George W. Bush was still just an incompetent baseball referee? They also had hackey-sacks back then (although I'm sure all you stoners out there still do, am I right, fellas?) So Freddy Prince, Junior spent like twenty minutes of the run-time of the movie free-associating with a hackey-sack. It was like poetry in motion. Even better than the 2010 Canadian Winter Olympics Opening thing with the smash poetry. Ten times better, in fact, and eleven years earlier.

5. The Raging Boner I Still Have From That "Walking Down the Stairs" Scene - Am I right, guys? Am I right? See, most girls, when they take off their glasses, they look like that. There, I just solved the problem of self esteem in women. In fact:

4. Solving All the Problems of Self-Esteem in Women - This movie? Come on! Since 1999, can you name even one problem that women have had with their self-esteem? Coincidence? I think not.

3. Freddy Prince, Jr.? - Was that the guy? I don't really remember. But it's not important. What is important is that Laney made him look like an ass. Take that, possibly Freddy Prince Jr.!

2. Or Was It Tom Green? - I'm certain Tom Green was in a movie called Freddy Got Fingered. Maybe they're related?

1. The Taco Hat - She definitely worked at this fast food place, and it might have been like, falafael or something, but she had to wear it as a hat. Hilarious! Best part of the movie, right there.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Manuscripts Burn: The Blog That Saves You $$$

Thinking of seeing Jennifer Aniston Sure Is Frumpy In Glasses this weekend? Save yourself the money and rent She's All That, a far superior movie with the identical premise. Or, you know what? Here:

There, I just saved you nine fucking dollars.

Coming soon: The definitive list of reasons why She's All That is the greatest movie ever made.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Christina Aguilera butchers Enrico Palazzo

If this video doesn't go viral (or, at least a superior rendition of it) I'll eat my hat.

And now the big Super Bowl poll!

What is the best Super Bowl Joke?
You know what was the only performance that was worse than the Black Eyed Peas' last night? The Steelers.
In a show of solidarity last night the Steelers announced that they would be changing their team name to the Raapists.
Man, the only performer who stumbled more than Christina Aguilera last night was Ben Roethlisberger.
Well, I guess it's true what they say: you can't rape everyone.
400 people were kept out of the stadium last night. I was wondering what happened to The Steelers' starting line.
You know what the best part about losing the Super Bowl is? You can get back to raping without all the public scrutiny.

View Results

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I'm going to go ahead and call it. Quote of the night:

"In the history of the Super Bowl, no more than four teams have lost."


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tough Choice...

Who would you rather see win?


I hope they won't mind me stealing their catchphrase, but...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Remember the whistle pigs...

In honor of all the groundhogs we've lost over the years to this barbaric tradition, this year the Manuscripts Burn blog is honored to present this limited time offer brown awareness ribbon. For only $12.99, you, too, can become a part of the whistle pig solidarity movement and put to rest all your lingering fears about doing more for the little vermin. For more information please contact the webmaster.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


[Steps onto soapbox]

I want to talk a little bit about something; let's call it inactivism. An activist is so-called because he or she "actively" supports a cause: goes to demonstrations, organizes petitions, donates money, anything really as long as they get up and get out of the house. I've noticed a trend lately, though, of half-assed lip-service purporting to be activism.

Remember when we were supposed to wear purple to support anti-gay bullying? And then we were all supposed to buy pink M&Ms to stop breast cancer. Then, for a while there, everyone's profile picture on Facebook was a cartoon character, to raise awareness of child abuse. And you know what this all accomplished? Precisely bullshit. It's this kind of armchair "support" of causes that I, and at least one other person on Urban Dictionary, have termed "inactivism."

The term, or at least the idea, seems not to be in common usage, and it ought to be. We might agree to call it non-activism, or sedentaryism, it doesn't really matter what we name it, but I'm certain that you've all witnessed the phenomenon and rolled your eyes a little bit. I think it's something we need to be aware of because what it really does is distracts us from actually doing anything to support the causes we give a shit about.

This Friday, February 4th, is apparently "Wear Red Day" which is what prompted this blog post. It's not "Let's Cure Heart Disease Day" or "Support Your Local Cardiothoracic Surgeon Day." Even, god forbid, "Heart Disease Awareness Day" would have been better. We have finally made it shorthand in our society that getting up in the morning and making a determined wardrobe choice is just as good as going down to the Red Cross and giving a pint of blood.

And let me tell you: it's not. It's horseshit. Any "support" that takes the form of not doing anything is not really support, it's just not doing anything. So why do we as a society accept that wearing a shirt or a ribbon or putting up a new Facebook status is a form of support?


We, as a society, have come to agree that it's better to not do anything and pretend like all of our problems are massive and insoluble. And as long as everyone nods and pats one another on the back, that's the way we're going to keep going.

So, go ahead. Weare a red shirt on Friday. Raise "awareness." You know what "awareness" is? It's nothing. Everyone is aware of heart disease and child abuse and saving the whales and supporting the troops and every other god-damned thing. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is aware of all that stuff. I shiver every time I hear that an event is to raise "awareness." How about we agree that everyone's aware and do a fundraiser instead?

You know when Katy Perry wore purple in her video for "Firework" to support, you know, obscure as it seems, not gay-bashing? You know what that accomplished? Nothing. Did they donate any of the profit from the video to a charity? Hmmm. Or, god forbid, from the song? Did 10% of the profits from iTunes go to thus-and-such? Hmmm.

Or, you know how everything becomes pink in October? You know why? Becase you'll buy it, and consider your duty towards curing breast cancer cured. Do you know how much a corporation has to donate in profits towards curing breast cancer in order to be allowed to color their products pink? Nothing. Precisely nothing. They can quite literally take a Swiffer, put it in a pink box, and profit off of the deaths of millions of women, and donate not a cent to any charity or hospital. Quite a lot of corporations do. And how do they get away with it? Because we, as a people, would rather buy a pink Swiffer than a non-pink one, with the same net result, and act like we made a difference.

Now, to be fair, there are a few corporations that donate SOMETHING to their pet causes, to be fair. But there's no rhyme or reason to it. It doesn't have to be 50% of profits. It can be $10,000, flat rate, regardless of how many pink shirts and bullshit they sell. Or it can be half of a percent of all profits. The important thing is: you don't know. Just seeing that it's pink is enough for us to buy it.

Imagine if every cause célèbre-themed item had to say on it exactly what buying this item would do for the presumed-to-be cause. Some would say "WE DONATE NOTHING FOR BREAST CANCER." Some $2.99 bags of M&Ms would say "$0.13 OF EVERY PURCHASE GOES TOWARDS BREAST CANCER RESEARCH." And here's another killer. Some of the ones that do nothing, literally nothing, claim that simply selling the items guessed it...AWARENESS.

I guess part of what aggravates me about this whole thing is that these symbols, not so long ago, in our own lifetimes even, were MEANINGFUL. As a veteran, I remember when a yellow ribbon was a deep, emotional attachment to a loved one overseas who may never return, and a link to the history of all veterans stretching back to the Civil War when the practice started. Then some asshole realized that he could SELL yellow ribbon magnets for $10 a pop, and everyone who didn't want to do any more for veterans would buy them and pop them on the back of their cars.

So, with a sigh, I watched as a once-sacred symbol of the sacrifices of those driven by the very best angels of our nature was turned into a crass marketing ploy. But that was hardly the end of it, was it? There were other causes out there that wanted to co-opt the yellow ribbon. Suddenly, if you didn't have a veteran in the family, but you did have an autistic kid, you had a puzzle-piece sticker on your car. Then there were red ribbons for AIDS, and pink ribbons for breast cancer, and a hundred more. There were so many ribbons, that they had to start doubling up. Red was for AIDS and heart disease all of a sudden, so suddenly the whole symbology of it became so obscure that no one even knew what the hell anyone was supporting anymore. "Supporting" in the sense of doing nothing.

I wouldn't mind if a person who had volunteered at a hospital wore a red ribbon. I wouldn't even mind if someone who had donated $10 to a charity wore a green ribbon. What I object to is the ribbon in and of itself seeming to be enough. "Look," the wearer says, "Showing solidarity is good enough." Solidarity is a start, but we need to go back to looking at it as just a start. We rob all these symbols of all their meaning with overuse.

Remember the little American flag pins that everyone wore after 9/11? You couldn't even be a politician anymore without wearing one. Which meant it meant nothing anymore. Everyone wore it and changed their attitudes and actions not in the slightest, and we entered the most fiercely partisan age in modern American history.

Now we've reached a sad new low in "fixing" all of our problems by buying a ribbon and ignoring them. In a brief throwback to the days of "everybody-had-to-wear-an-American-flag-or-they-weren't-patriotic" last week at the State of the Union address...EVERY...SINGLE...politician in America wore a black and white ribbon. I haven't mentioned that one yet. That's one that honors a single individual. Admittedly, I admire Congresswoman Giffords and I wish her the best of luck in her speedy recovery. But if I really wanted to honor her, wouldn't it do more for me to contribute to the cause of traumatic brain injury, or toning down political rhetoric? Couldn't I do...something? But instead we are now wearing ribbons to raise awareness about individuals.

I guess what I'm saying is, I support causes, and I want people to support causes, but I want them to ACTUALLY support them. Please, don't just say, "I support the troops" or put a yellow magnet on the back of your car. Volunteer at the VA. Donate money to an injured veteran's group. Hell, petition your congressperson for more rights for veterans. Do something. Do ANYTHING. Just be active about it.

[Steps off soapbox]
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