Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: One-Liners on Love

Jodi MacArthur recently requested a bunch of one-liners on love. I sent her a batch and she re-published her favorite foursome. Here is the entire list. They are not all funny, not all one-liners, but I swear love was somewhere in the context of each.

-Love is an illusion more resilient than reality.

-Love is a four-letter word.

-Love is never having to say, "Go away."

-Love conquers all. The occupation is harder.

-Love is the radiation that kills cynicism.

-Love is owing nothing and still wanting to give.

-Love is like flatulence: you're lucky if anybody else tolerates yours.

-Love is irrational, inconvenient, divisive, and unfortunately altogether worthwhile.

-Love is a fate I wish on all my worst enemies - nothing more embarrassing.

-Love is what's waiting for you once you calm down. If nothing's there, then you know.

-Love is fifty of the best reasons to take a day off from work - and one day, the utter worst.

-Love is a disappearing act. It's not in your pockets, your bank account's empty, and the car is gone. Oh, that bitch!

-Love is more likely to create families than emerge from them.

-Love has a silent 'e' because it knows when to shut up.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Mr. Goliath, OR, "Goliath Must Be Slain" -Maria Kelly

This story was inspired by Maria Kelly's title, "Goliath Must Be Slain." My initial reaction was, "Must he?" My second reaction was the following dialogue.

"It’s all here. Gold. Fruits. The coastline. We have a lot of resources. That's why your goons are invading us."

"They're not goons. They're my countrymen."

"Do you like your country? Better than here?"

"Well, it's a country. I guess you’ve got nicer gardens."

"You like gardens, Mr. Goliath?"

"Kind of. But in a manly way."

"We don't judge men for liking gardens here. This pink flower? We call it a rockrose."

"That is manly."

"How much are they paying you?"

"A bunch. I'm going to get a lot for killing you all."

"A bunch? What if I pay you two bunches?"

"Two bunches?"

"Three. Three bunches. When I take out my sling, you turn around and attack your guys. Afterward we'll give you three bunches."

"I don't know about this."

"We'll leave them in your garden."

"My garden?"

"We'll set aside one just for you."

"Will... will there be rockroses?"

"You bet there will be rockroses."

"That does sound nice."

"Doesn't it? Just turn on them when you see the sling."

"I don't want to be called a traitor."

"You'll live here! Nobody will call you a traitor here. Everybody'll be very grateful. If foreigners ask what happened, I'll make something up."

"Three bunches..."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Adaptation at Work

Observe two siblings. The firstborn likes nearly all sweets. Chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, candy canes, mint ice cream. She will eat anything unhealthy for her first three years alone except for strawberries. Not chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry-flavored drinks or candies. Nothing.

During her third year, her younger sister is born. After the time it takes to wean her, the new sister shows a similar great love of sweets. Chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter cause her to exhibit great excitement. It all sounds familiar.

But her older sibling intervenes, stealing her treats whenever the parents are not directly watching. Though the parents attempt to counter-intervene, mass candy theft continues for four months. The younger sibling exhibits great distress.

At the four month mark, treat theft declines rapidly. Observe that the younger sibling no longer asks for candy bars or caramel apples. The parents are happy she has shown an interest in fruit, but she is not omnivorous. She is only consuming strawberries. Strawberries by the carton, strawberry milk, strawberry cake for dessert, chocolate-covered strawberries for her birthday, and every day's lunch has a strawberry fruit roll-up.

Treat theft is at zero, while treat consumption is on the rise. That, my friends, is adaptation at work.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

7 Necessary Elements of a Blog Post

The internet doesn't have enough guides on how to write blog posts, so I'm giving you another one. No other you stumble across will be like this one because I'm entirely right. You're welcome.

1. Bold Headings
Not in all-caps. ALL CAPS IS TOO AGGRESSIVE. Bold is just authoritative enough. We’re lulling people into thinking they’re learning here. Also don’t let

2. Keep it Short
the text beneath any heading go on too long. Being pithy lets you avoid concrete examples, detailed explanations, and even being right. Don’t be right. Make declarative statements with the possibility of rightness and move on.

3. Positive Filler
After the second item dump in a few extra bits that nobody will disagree with but that don’t really matter. It can be common information. A few items your audience already knows will make them feel smarter. People love to think they’re smart. This positive fluff will also help pad your list above

4. More Than Five
five items. Below five and it seems like you don’t have enough wisdom. Above nine and nobody will click because they don’t have the attention span. They need the truth quickly. If you were writing for people with attention spans, you wouldn’t be writing in list format.

5. Link-Drop
During your list hyperlink to other blogs and information sources that support your thesis. You don’t even have to discuss the linked content – casually linking makes you seem info-savvy, and whatever claim you made while linking suddenly becomes 55% more convincing.

6. Impersonal Personal
Relate to them, but don’t relate yourself. Mention a funny story from your bestselling client, your dean of studies, your drunken weekend with Seth Godin – people who, by association, create an illusion of you that people want. People don’t want your story. They want success.

7. End with questions
The best final item is asking for more items! You need lots of Comments so your post will seem important, and asking enthusiastic non-experts for their expertise is the best way to get words flowing in the blogosphere. In no time you’ll seem like a magnate. Don't you agree?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

True Stories of John 7: Dumbest Thing You Could Do

You know what the dumbest thing you could do is?

All you need is a hammer, a bag of salt, a crappy ladder, and a snowstorm.

No, an ice storm. Yeah. Sleet, slush and slippery crap everywhere. You can barely walk down the steps with this little traction.

You go to the garage and get the rickety wooden ladder. It’s the only one you have because you’re cheap.

You carry that all the way up to the deck and set it on a patch of ice. Why on a patch of ice? Because that’s near the gutters, silly. And because it’s on this narrow deck, you’re only a foot away from the edge at all times.

You climb up this ladder that was designed for people fifty pounds less than you, carrying a bag of ice-melter and a hammer. Make sure nobody else is home to hold the ladder for you, because that would be a competent thing to do.

You get to the top and survey the gutters. Thoroughly frozen over. Icicles as long as your leg. The only way to stop this is to empty those gutters.

So you start hammering at the ice with the teeth of the hammer. Nowhere to hold onto, the ladder wiggling beneath you, ice chips spraying into your eyes.

That’s uncomfortable. Shake your head rapidly to warm up. Now get dizzy, because that’s what actually happens when you shake your head rapidly.

And then you look down to steady yourself. Instead of steadying yourself, you get hit in the face with vertigo.

Keep hammering at those gutters. Wonder if the ladder is swaying or if your sense of balance is just off. You’ve got to ignore it and swing faster at the ice. The family will be home soon and this will be a great surprise.

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Viva La Love Pen" at Fiction Writer

There's a competition going on. Jodi MacArthur, a good friend and fine writer, has requested all manner of one-line definitions for "love." She's posting people's entries straight to her blog. You can read the whole bunch by clicking here.

I have four definitions in the pile. I sent over a dozen and let Jodi pick her favorites. On Saturday, after she announces her winner, I'll publish my full list. So hop over there now to laugh a little, and laugh a little more this weekend.

You'll find my thoughts contradictory. If your thoughts on love aren't, you haven't experienced much of it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Lapsed Atheist

To listen to today's blasphemy either click the triangle on the left to begin streaming audio, or click this text to download the MP3.
"No, no. 'Lapsed' atheist. Culturally godless, born and raised to a nice secular family. They imbued with empiricism and skepticism, the core rational American values. But there comes a time in a boy's life when his father's irreligion doesn’t fit him anymore. Maybe it's hearing Johnny Cash for the first time, meeting Catholic school girls, or going to college and experiencing all these other kinds of irreligions. You take Astronomy and see that big universe, Physics shows how it all makes sense, Statistics shows you all the sense is nonsense, and you wonder, "What am I disbelieving in?" I fell away from it. Spent my time disbelieving in other things, like public decency and birth control. I still disbelieve around the holidays and put in hours at a not-for-profit. We put up those 'Good for Goodness Sake' posters that nobody actually thinks is clever. It’s just ritual. I might not do it this year. My wife's Hindu and doesn't think it's funny. Getting married was a stretch. I went through the rites, found twenty or thirty gods that were amusing to pray to, but didn't really convert. It's just, you know. Life."
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