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WHEN FALLS THE COLISEUM reviews & description

   

 

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Introduction from the book:

Welcome to When Falls the Coliseum: a journal of American culture (or lack thereof). This book can best be described as a conversation about America. A sometimes loud conversation. An often funny one. And, some might be bold enough to suggest, an important one. We are not that bold. It would be pretentious to claim that this conversation is the voice of America. It would also be inaccurate, implying that America speaks with one voice. The writers of When Falls the Coliseum certainly do not. The disclaimer, “Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors” has perhaps never been more appropriate.

Be warned that free speech is the guiding principle of the Web site from which this book was born. Contributors with very different perspectives were recruited, and humor and debate are to be found here in abundance. About the only speech prohibited by When Falls the Coliseum is boring speech. Many of our readers got in on the action, and their responses to essays can also be found in this book. A few arguments ensued, but at least no punches were thrown. If you have no sense of humor, are easily offended, or think certain topics should not be discussed, put this book down now. Visit the self-help aisle instead. There’s probably something there for you. If you disagree with or are offended by some of what you read here, good. It means our contributors did their jobs, and made you think.

When Falls the Coliseum is full of humor and satire, vigorous discussion, energetic short fiction, reviews, occasional strangeness, and more loudmouthed opinions than you can shake a big stick at, if you are the sort who shakes sticks (we gave up the practice ourselves several years ago, along with walking softly). Some of our writers might be defined as liberal, conservative, or libertarian, some as Christian, Jewish, or atheist. Others don’t own dictionaries and can’t say for sure what they are. Some are writers by trade; some actually work for a living. Some are motivated by high political and philosophical ideals; some just hate bad service at restaurants and think you need to hear about it. They come from all corners of the fruited plains, and each of them is, like everyone else in this country, sure they’re right.

Many of the essays and stories in this book are short. This is, after all, a journal of American culture. So you can sneak in a quick read during the commercial break of your favorite sitcom. We can’t promise that reading this book will offset the side effects of that glowing box and its laugh track calling to you from the living room, but we can promise you a literary good time and lots of genuine laughs.

 

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New York magazine reviewed the online version of When Falls the Coliseum in its Surf Report:

“Hip, sardonic … quirky … editor Scott Stein examines droll Americana … No matter what your personal politics, WFtheColiseum will spark a thought or two.”

end of New York magazine review excerpt

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Below is an excerpt from the review of the book When Falls the Coliseum that appeared in Drexel Universitys student newspaper, the Triangle:

“Brought together from across the information superhighway, the essays represent a spectrum of views from atheist to Christian, libertarian to liberal. Each is handpicked for its poignancy, and forces the reader to think, regardless of prior convictions. The result is nothing less than engrossing. Stein himself shines in both nonfiction and fiction … simply ingenious. If this book does not make you furious in disagreement, shout out loud in support, and change your mind about a topic at least once, you do not deserve to have an opinion.”

end of Triangle review excerpt

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Praise from readers:

“I enjoyed reading the works. What a break from the norm. Keep making my mind work (along with many others)!”

“I must commend you on your choice to print such a fine piece of satire.”

“My 76-year-old mother called me on a land line to be sure she got to me quickly to tell me about your site. We live on opposite coasts ... we are generations apart ... but I guess it’s a gene thing because I think the Coliseum is very cool, too!”

“Face it … You are wrong.”

“Very readable articles—entertaining yet intelligent.”

“Hysterical! I loved it! Finally I have found a writers’ forum in which there is genuine diversity and well-constructed original writing! Wonderful work!”

“I would like to compliment you and your contributors for setting a new and refreshing standard that is needed badly on the Internet.”

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The table of contents:

People are Idiots                                                                                
Jody Lane
And I am related to every one of them.

The Last Peanut                                                                                  
Scott Stein
Even worse than banning them on airplanes.

Top Ten Rejected Major  League Baseball Expansion Teams     
Bob Sullivan

Homeless, Not Heartless                                                                   
C.P. Kaiser
Don’t make it easy to ignore the destitute.

American-Americans                                                                          
David “Preacher” Slocum
Lose the hyphen.

That Other National Pastime                                                             
Scott Stein
It isn’t what you think.

The Gods Are Taking A Meeting
Ari McKee
Three cheers for polytheism.

Eyes Wide Shut? They Should Be                                                    
Marni Schwartz
Kubrick’s final masterpiece isn’t one.

And the Beating Goes On                                                                  
Suzanne Hakanen
The difference between the candidates.

Life Might Imitate Art, but it isn’t Worth as Much (Just Ask NATO)                                                                 
Scott Stein
To be or not to be … aw, just bomb the place.

Squirrel-Buggery                                                                              
Kevin Bolshaw
Why there is next to no litter on the mountain.
 
Churchgoing Man Kills 13                                                                               
C.P. Kaiser
What some people learned in Sunday school.
 
Who’s Your Daddy?                                                                            
Scott Stein
I’ll have the McBroccoli with cheese.
 
Have Guns, Will Travel                                                                     
Bob Sullivan
The vandals never steal the handle when you need them to.
 
This Is Your Brain, Unplugged                                                        
Robert L. Hall
Turn off to turn on.
 
Why I Haven’t Solved World Hunger                                                              
Andrew Turner
Oh, the humanity.
 
Baseball Players Deserve the Money                                             
Scott Stein
Got a problem with that? Stay home.

 

Recipe for Continuing to Collect Unemployment                       
Robert O’Hara

 
Seventh-Inning Stench                                                                      
C.P. Kaiser
Is that odor coming from the field or the stands?

If a Tree Falls in the Woods...                                                         
Scott Stein
… get the hell out of the way.

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The History of Inhalation in the U.S. (As Chronicled by Mothball Product Labels)                                           
Suzanne Hakanen
Warning: May cause Saturday night fever.

Feeding the Bloodlust of the Rabble                                                            
Eva Marie Tremoglie
Capital punishment and our schizophrenic culture.

Headline News from the 21st Century                                           
Jody Lane
Y2K was only the beginning.

“Literally” Decimated, Figuratively Speaking                         
Scott Stein
Now you’ve gone and made Superman angry.

The Beeper                                                                                           
C.P. Kaiser
She loves that buzz.

 

If It Bleeds, It Leads                                                                           
Alastair MacDonald Black
A relatively innocent bystander’s report from Seattle.

 

Fluidity of Thought                                                                           
Scott Stein
Leaps and tangents on the arts.

 

We are TOO a Men’s Magazine                                                          
Ari McKee
Keeping the “ass” in class.

 

Furry Doorstops and Quieter Kids                                                 
Chuck Sheehan
Cure your barking and screeching ills.

 

The Spice of Life … and Death
Scott Stein
These teens had the munchies something awful.

The Animal Network
C.P. Kaiser
Monkeys can type Hamlet, but can they direct it?

Fair is Better than Equal
Rev. Angeline E.M. Theisen
If we got what we deserved...
 

Infidel                                                                                                  
Scott Stein
If ignorance is bliss, meet a very happy man.

 

Top Ten Easiest Jobs in the World                                                 
Bob Sullivan

 

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In Hitler’s Defense                                                                             
Robert O’Hara
Political correctness is alive and well.

 

Recipe for Surviving Thanksgiving with Your Mother                              

Suzanne Hakanen

 

Making Change                                                                                    
Scott Stein
Brother, can you spare a quarter?

 
If Boys Will Be Boys, Why Can’t Girls Be Girls?                         
C.P. Kaiser
If he’s a stud, why is she a slut?
 
Hooked: A Journal of Addiction and Malediction                      
Jeffrey Scheuer
Have a coke and a smile.

 

Alzheimer’s, Max and Flo                                                                  
Scott Stein
A spatial love poem worth remembering.

 
A Choice? Maybe. But Whose?                                                         
Jeff Podell
Abortion rights or states’ rights?
 
Top Ten Thoughts that Make Dogs Smile
Bob Sullivan
 
40,000 Lies about the Culture of Violence                                  
Scott Stein
Get out your abacus.
 
Fatness                                                                                                 
Alex Joseph
She will never be thin.

Everything a Really Big F**king Idiot Needs to Know About Drugs and Alcohol                                                               
Jody Lane
Coming soon to a bookstore near you!

The Matrix and the Culture of Violence                                   
Bob Sullivan
Shiny, happy bullets.
 

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In the Morning, after Breakfast                                                   
Scott Stein
What a writer should write about.
 
The Two Religions                                                                                             
Robert L. Hall
Sight for the blind.
 
Gang Bang, Anyone?                                                                         
Jason Stein
Not as much fun as it sounds.
 
Deciphering Dot-com Ad Speak                                                        
C.P. Kaiser
Detail-oriented, self-starter wanted.

Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and the Problem of Barbra Streisand                                           
Scott Stein
Born to run, but not for office.

Who is God?                                                                                     
Cassendre Xavier
Or, more correctly, who isn’t?
 
Shotguns and Rifles and Pistols, Oh My!                                      
David “Preacher” Slocum
Who needs a gun when you can dial 911?
 
Conspiracy                                                                                           
Scott Stein
The truth might be out there, but they can’t find it.
 
(un)-Sound Bytes                                                                                
C.P. Kaiser
Not your standard headline news.
 
Scared Straight (Well, Mostly)                                                      
Ari McKee
A proposal from the hopelessly alert and reality-based.
 
Absolute Denial                                                                                 
Scott Stein
I’m fairly certain it’s very unique.
 
The Weekly Challenge                                                                      
Rev. Angeline E. M. Theisen
Saturday night special.
 
Where My Marsupials At?
Robert O’Hara
A cool cat or a hot dog?
 
Vaginal Ghosts                                                                                   
C.P. Kaiser
Let’s baptize the hell out of them.
 
Garghibition                                                                                        
Scott Stein
A tall tale from a short man.
 
All Hail the New Quayle!                                                                   
Bob Sullivan
Be compassionated. Vote for Bush.
 
Recipe for Brewing the Perfect Liberal                                      
David “Preacher” Slocum
 

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Legislators with Gonadal Dysfunction                                         
C.P. Kaiser
An apple a day isn’t supposed to keep babies away.
 
Let Them Eat (Their Own) Cake
Scott Stein
Half-baked ideas about tax cuts.

Top Ten Signs You’re Getting Older
Bob Sullivan

Can’t We Wait Until His Head’s a Little Bigger?
Ari Mckee
Modern maternity martyrdom.

Circus Crap
Ron Schorr
The smelliest show on earth.

A Talking Ass, or a Braying Mule?                                                 
Scott Stein
Literal truth and the Torah.
 
Blame Game Justice                                                                             
Robert L. Hall
The genes made me do it.

Alcohol Problem? Break Out the Leeches and the Bible         
C.P. Kaiser
Try getting your HMO to cover a change of heart.

Sheep                                                                                                    
Alex Joseph
A unique story. A unique story.
 
If at First You Don’t Succeed …                                                      
Scott Stein
Murder and attempted murder are the same crime.
 
Just Another Bloody Mess                                                                              
C.P. Kaiser
Sour milk? Wilting flowers? Here’s why.
 
A Kill-Halloween Party                                                                   
Suzanne Hakanen
Maybe you should skip this house.
 
The Same River Twice
Scott Stein
A whale of a fish story.

Reach Out and Punch Someone
C.P. Kaiser
Ring, Ring. Hello, do you have any toilet paper over there?

Why Vote? That’s What Electors Are For
Ari McKee
Non-voters count as much as voters do.

Prideless, and Proud of it                                                                              
Scott Stein
Join the one-man march.
 

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Recipe for Getting to Work by Public Transportation                             
Amy Boshnack

Affirmative Action: Is It Working If I’m Not?                                
David “Preacher” Slocum
I had a dream. Then I woke up.

The Mechanics of Humility                                                                             
Jody Lane
Blood is thicker than oil.
 
The Temp                                                                                       
Jason Stein
The American way.
 
Recipe for Exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art                 
Scott Stein

Scam the Sham and the Pharaohs                                                     
Bob Sullivan
Someone let the lobbyists into the penthouse.

I’m not Seeking a Husband, Just a Well-Trained Boyfriend       
Cassendre Xavier
Learning the art of maybe.

The Politics of Star Trek: Peace on Earth, Klingon Racism, and Bleeding-Heart Vulcans                                              
Scott Stein
Live long and prosper, or we’ll bust a phaser in your ass.

The Committee (a Fairy Tale)                                                             
Jody Lane
Where there’s smoke, there’s firing.

When Murder Becomes a Footnote                                                 
C.P. Kaiser
When is it TIME to applaud the Third Reich?

Blame it on Uncle Sam                                                                        
Helen Cates
In the Navy, you can drink the seven seas.

And the Loser is                                                                                 
Scott Stein
American Beauty, the Oscars, and the oppressed suburbs.

The Confederate Flag Debate in South Carolina: Heritage or Hate?                                                 
David “Preacher” Slocum
Should any group have a monopoly on the past?

Top Ten Signs Your Favorite Presidential Candidate Is on Drugs                                                
Bob Sullivan

 

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Getting Laid was Never so Easy                                                        
C.P. Kaiser
Some suggestions from a grammar slut.

Kangaroo Court
Scott Stein
A wild tail.

Keeping the Sex in Sexual Harassment
Helen Cates
Some people like the attention.

The Slow Food Movement
Ari McKee
People with more time than sense.

I Passed on Passover, but Happy Easter                                          
Scott Stein
Forget the locust and frogs ... beware the wrath of mothers.

One Word: Responsibility                                                                 
Robert L. Hall
Just say no. Really.

Enough Male Bashing                                                                        
C.P. Kaiser
Another shot won’t help this sot.

A Second Chance                                                                                               
Scott Stein
The heroics of Roberto the Clown.

Supreme Being, Your Party is Waiting for You in Baggage Claim                                                   
Ari McKee
A mixed marriage.

Taxed to the Max                                                                                 
Jason Stein
Do I get to keep any of my money?

Recipe for Holiday Peace                                                                  
Jody Lane

To Email or not to E-mail                                                                   
C.P. Kaiser and Scott Stein
What would Shakespeare do?

Help for the Reluctantly Human
Ari McKee
Homo Sapiens are animals too.

The Empty Bed
Helen Cates
Dirty hands, priced to sell.

Keep (All) Your Laws Off My Body
Scott Stein
Listen to the bumper sticker.

Screw Who You Want, But Shoot Who We Tell You                 
David “Preacher” Slocum
The problem with don’t ask, don’t tell.

Six Innings of Freedom                                                                      
Robert O’Hara
Sometimes it’s more than a game.

Why Do Gay Men Have Such Small Dogs and Lesbians, Large Ones?
Cassendre Xavier
You are what you walk.

Ask Marilyn about the Big Bang and the Difference between Faith and Science                                         
Scott Stein
We’re not in Kansas anymore.

Acting Assistant Executive Associate Manager                          

Suzanne Hakanen
The Kroc of meaningless titles.

 

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Making the Most of Your Take-Home Pay                                       
Bob Sullivan
What to do with the surplus.

Boos for the Boss?                                                                           
Scott Stein
No, they’re saying Brooooooce!

America’s Sport                                                                               
Jared Boshnack
Baseball, football, or basketball?

I Thank God the Tornado Didn’t Suck Me Up... Too Bad About My Neighbors, Though                          
C.P. Kaiser
What students should really be praying for.

An Open Letter to the Dirty Bastard Who Stole My Car                            
Scott Stein
1989 – 2000 R.I.P.

In Praise of Short Men                                                            
Ari McKee
Costanza! Costanza! Oh, baby!

If I had Balls, I’d be Licking Them  
Willie, for C.P. Kaiser
A dog’s work is never done. 

The Stacker                                                           
Scott Stein
He was the greatest ever.

 

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About the editor:

Read Scott Steins bio on his home page.

 

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