Archive for January, 2011
Hello!!!!!!! Today, I am here to talk to you about a diet that changed my life. For years, I have struggled with my weight. I have tried every diet on the market, but after a few days I am unable to keep to the diet because I am hungry all the time. The most recent studies have said that eating 5 small meals a day will result in significant loss of pounds. I heard this and thought it was impossible but it seems to be very effective. Unfortunately, I have been unable to make this system work quickly enough and I still find myself hungry at night. It seemed like there was no hope for me, and then I found out about the Nine and FINE Diet. Are you sitting down? I am about to tell you something that may sound too good to be true, but rest assured, this diet is one hundred and twelve percent effective for everyone. According to scientists*, eating NINE large meals a day will help you lose significant amounts of weight overnight.
What?!?! Eat nine large meals and lose weight! How could it be true? Well, according to scientists, the human body has some pretty amazing properties. There is a certain point that the body hits where it is so overwhelmed by fat, carbohydrates and proteins that it begins to secrete a substance recently discovered by scientists called Jimbobwe. Jimbobwe is a substance that eats fat. If you have ever had a night where you ate to the point of near sickness and woke up a pound or two lighter it is because you tripped your Jimbobwe receptors. If you think about it, the human body is kind of like the card game hearts. In hearts, if you have the best cards you get a lot of points. But, if you have the worst possible hand, you get even more points. The body works in the same way. Impossible, you say!?!?! Scientists have proven it!!! Ever see a 98 year old who ate badly all of her life and is still in great health? How, you ask?!?! Jimbobwe!!!!
Let me give you a personal example. I started the Nine and FINE Diet on a Monday morning. For breakfast, I had a full plate of eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast and grits. At about 9 o’clock, I ate a large ham sandwich, two plates full of mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. At 10:30, I ate three large hamburger patties wedged between two grilled cheese sandwiches, fries and 6 cokes. At noon, I ate a rack of ribs, twelve dinner roles covered in butter, a side of lobster bisque soup and a plate of fried plantains. At 1:30, I ate half of a medium cooked turkey, a large vanilla milkshake, two plates of collard greens, a hot fudge sundae and 4 peanut butter sandwiches. At 4, I ate a large porterhouse steak, a baked potato covered in sour cream, a plate of braised pig’s knuckles, 4 slices of pizza dipped in bleu cheese and 4 cans of A and W root beer. At 6, I ate another steak, fried onions, a Cinnabon, an entire bag of cool ranch Doritos, a Meximelt from Taco Bell, and a large vat of cookie dough ice cream. At 6:45, I ate six fried Snicker Bars, a Whopper from Burger King and fries from Checkers. Then, as I was getting ready for bed at 8 o’clock, I ate a bag of caramel corn, 4 turkey legs, cotton candy, a dish of funnel cake covered in ice cream, 7 pieces of chicken fried in Crisco, another Cinnabon, nine bagels covered in cream cheese, a Big Mac and 3 more milkshakes. In total, I consumed close to 40,000 calories that day. I also lost 5 pounds. After 30 days of the diet, I had lost 56 pounds**.
Maybe I’m just lucky, you say. Well, then how do you explain Marvin Altcheck? Marvin followed the Nine and FINE for thirty days and lost 37 pounds***. Or Jane Smith? Jane lost 67 pounds in 30 days on the Nine and FINE Diet****. What about Julia Marshall? Julia began the diet at 883 pounds. After thirty days on the diet, she was 938 pounds. Now that’s progress!!!
I often hear people say things about Americans eating too much. Maybe, these so-called “doctors” and “dieticians” are wrong. Maybe the problem is we don’t eat enough!!!!!!!
Let’s say you have the problem that many overweight, patriotic Americans have. You simply don’t like to eat. Well, for just 19.99 I can offer you a thirty-day supply of Jimbobwe supplements. Or, eat nine large meals a day AND take the supplements. Hey…every little bit helps…Right?!?!?!? Simply send your credit card/bank account information the address given below in the Cayman Islands and expect your supplements in the mail any day. If you send your information in the next 12 hours, I will include a book called “The Mysteries of Jimbobwe”, a 98-page book with pictures of some of our success stories along with 47 brand new Crisco based recipes for weight loss.
So, if anyone asks you what you weigh…go ahead and finish that ice cream sundae, that box of Oreos and that stick of butter, look them in the eyes and tell them “I’m Nine and FINE” and let the results speak for themselves.
* When using the term scientists, I am referring to several friends of mine who have taken at least 3 college level science classes.
** Results of the diet are not typical. Many people lose only thirty pounds in a month while other gain large amounts of weight.
***Marvin credits the Nine and FINE Diet (coupled with liposuction surgery) with his dramatic weight loss
****Jane died from congestive heart failure on the seventh day of the diet, but for the sake of the study, scientists continued to track her progress after her death
There is an oft-quoted line popularized by Mark Twain that says, “There are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics.” Twain clearly hadn’t listened to much sports talk radio. If he had, he would have said, “there are lies, damned lies, statistics and then there are sports talk show hosts with statistics.” The truth of this quote became apparent to me, as it often does, while listening to the Colin Cowherd radio show the other day.
In fairness to Cowherd (which could only be his real name in a truly cruel universe), he does a very entertaining show. He is engaging and often makes me want to argue with him, which seems to be the point of most sports talk radio shows. Louisville Coach Rick Pitino once referred to sports talk radio as “the fellowship of the miserable”, which would apply to much of what I’ve heard, but not to Cowherd’s show which is quite upbeat and enjoyable if you can ignore the nearly endless stream of commercials for hair growth products and lite beer. That being said, Cowherd is the best I’ve heard at taking a statistic and making it mean a whole bunch of things that it doesn’t. If it weren’t for sports radio I am convinced he would be making millions of dollars a year convincing people that 9 out of 10 dentists prefer Aquafresh. The ability to take numeric information and blow its significance way out of proportion to the point of near absurdity is a skill that those who are successful in the business have mastered.
Cowherd can make a number dance like few I’ve ever heard. In support of some ludicrous theory that a recently lobotomized six year old couldn’t have been conned into, I once heard the man say “if you believe that I’m right 98 percent of the time, which I am, I must be right about this as well.” Basically, what he’s saying is that if you have been duped into believing the rest of the nonsense that comes out of my mouth, don’t you think you should believe this too? What strikes me about this quote is how the number really makes the argument seem plausible. Last time I checked, there was no agency that gives scores to sports talk radio hosts based on the veracity of their ravings. He clearly was making a hyperbolic point about his acumen as an “understander of all things sports related.” I caught myself thinking, after the sixth or seventh time I heard him say this, “well…he is right 98 percent of the time. Maybe this isn’t so far-fetched.” Take a fake number, repeat it over and over to justify an absurd claim and watch the magic happen.
Where Cowherd is really at his best is when he has a real number to mess around with. The other day I listened to him take one statistic and turn it into an hour of wild speculation, conjecture and rage. Sports radio at it’s finest. He started the madness by giving a statistic that was tangentially related to Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers who seems destined to one-day share a prison cell with Art Schlichter. The stat showed that the Steelers record gradually improved during each month of the season when Roethlisberger was playing and not on suspension, awaiting arraignment or injured. During the first month of the season, the Steelers won half of their games and lost half, by December the Steelers significantly better than average (or .500 as is the accepted term among sports junkies). Cowherd had the audience call in and guess what this meant. By the second caller, Cowherd had found the answer he was looking for. It was obvious that this stat proved, beyond all doubt, that Roethlisberger did not prepare enough in the off-season. He went on to back his point up by referring to the fact that he had gotten into several scrapes with the law while he was away from his team. I marveled at the simple beauty of this argument. Point A: The Steelers have gotten better in terms of wins and losses as the season has gone on over the last few years Point B: Roethlisberger has gotten in trouble with the law during the off-season. Therefore, Roethlisberger is unprepared when the season begins.
There are an almost limitless supply of problems with this argument. Quarterback production is only one in a series of thousands of things that affect a football game. Maybe they had other significant injuries. Maybe they played a more challenging schedule in September. Maybe they are better in cold weather. Using one of the more ridiculous clichés in sports, maybe they are more of a “clutch” team. Maybe they are affected adversely by the position of the moon as it relates to Saturn during a certain period of the season. Maybe they are lucky. Who knows? If anyone believes quarterback play always correlates with victory or defeat I could point you to any number of examples, including Roethlisberger’s nightmarish Super Bowl XL victory performance to prove the opposite.
Another problem with the argument is that he doesn’t bother to explain what being “prepared” means. Is he implying that he doesn’t work out enough in the off-season? If so, I would argue that he would be more adversely affected at the end of a rigorous, punishing football season than at the beginning. As a basketball coach, I don’t do conditioning work with my players so they will be fast in the first two minutes of our opener, I do it so that they will be physically able to handle the long, tiring effects of a season. I’m quite sure a good number of coaches and players think this way as well. Maybe he meant Roethlisberger is not mentally prepared. Does that mean he doesn’t watch enough game film? Does it mean he doesn’t meet with his receivers after practice? Does it mean he doesn’t spend extra time in meetings with coaches? Or is Cowherd, as I suspect, simply throwing out a buzzword at an easy target to try to work his audience into a lather? He never defines it or uses anything beyond this one, lonely stat to prove his point so how can I assume anything but the final option.
The worst criticism I could ever throw at sports radio is that it should be immune to this sort of critique because it’s just a mindless time waster meant to get people riled up for no purpose other than selling people things they don’t need. That might in fact be true, but many people who enjoy sports spend a lot of time with it. There should be some expectation of something beyond “getting the audience worked up” even in the things that we accept as entertainment. As an audience member, I appreciate being treated as a thinking human being who is interested in seeing how statistics relate to reality and not as a rage-filled 35-51 year old male who will consume more products if made angry.
I was asked this question recently during a discussion about morality with a friend of mine. I do not believe that there is an objective meaning to life and this was his way of countering my argument. At first, I didn’t really take the question seriously and I laughed it off as a weird reductio ad absurdum argument meant to link my lack of belief to the worst possible outcomes. It is not the first time I have been asked this question in this context and I began to wonder why I felt the question was ridiculous. For the purposes of this article, I really don’t want to debate my feelings on objective meaning. It is a much larger topic that I feel deserves considerably more explanation than I am ready to give. However, I feel there is a basic misunderstanding in this question that is worth addressing on it’s own.
The questions strikes me as a silly one because I don’t see what one thing has to do with the other. I am not clear about how Proposition A (There is no meaning in life) leads one to Proposition B (I should go around killing people). The argument makes about as much sense as saying “If you don’t believe there is any ice cream, why don’t you just go around killing people?” Why does the lack of basic meaning imply that people would commit violent acts towards one another? Where is the causal link between violence and the lack of meaning? Proposition A is a stand alone idea. It doesn’t lead to anything. It simply is.
The implication at the center of this idea is that the only thing that keeps human beings from running around causing severe harm to one another is the belief that there is some reason for everything. The deeper idea in the point my friend made was that without meaning, humans are nothing more than bloodthirsty animals that will do whatever they want, whenever they want. This is an extremely Hobbsean conception of what people are. I have a hard time believing that humans without meaning would find nothing better to do with their time then kill other humans. This view of humans, when held up to the light, seems quite vacant of truth. There are many secular humanists, atheists and nihilists who live their lives not believing in objective meaning without causing significant harm to others around them. Violence is something used by people of many different belief systems. There have been Christian murderers, Muslim murderers, Atheist murderers and so on.
I think part of the problem with the question is the assumption of direct correlation between belief and action. A person’s beliefs may help to define their actions, but we are never sure how. A person may believe strongly in a universe with objective meaning and choose to manifest that belief in the form of violence against people who think differently (The Spanish Inquisition is a good example of this) or they may choose to take that belief and manifest it in the form of non-violent protest (Martin Luther King would be a good representative of this). I don’t think we know what drove these people to act as they did. There is often an assumption that humans are basically machines. If you input this belief into the machine a specific set of actions will be waiting on the other end of the conveyor belt. The truth is that we have no idea what believing in certain things leads to. We know that we believe them, that’s all.
A good lens to see this question through is David Hume’s Problem of Induction argument. Hume argued that we can never convincingly prove that A will lead to B. We may assume that every time we flip the light switch on the room will light up, but on some occasions (power outages, blown fuses, unexplained failure) the room will not become illuminated. We may think that if a person has a certain set of values and beliefs they will turn out a certain way, but there are nearly limitless examples throughout history of times when that hasn’t happened. There is no such thing as a sure thing. We never know in advance how a set of beliefs is going to effect a person’s actions. We cannot accurately predict the future thus we never know what believing in certain things is going to lead to.
There is a troubling dynamic in this answer for those who are raising children. If we can’t convincingly know what the beliefs we are teaching our children are going to lead to, how are we supposed to raise them? My wife and I are currently raising two young children, so this question is a very serious one for me. As a parent, one of the most difficult realities that you are faced with is the understanding that you may do a great job teaching your children to love and respect the people around them and they still may turn out to be humans who take actions that appear angry, violent and anti-social. Humans are filled with complexities are impossible to completely understand. We can read the all of the “right” books, make the “correct” sacrifices and do what we think are the right things and we are still given no assurances. All we as parents can do is love our children no matter who they become. I don’t want my children to learn right and wrong, I want them to learn that we live in a world that has extreme shades of grey. I want them to learn to cause as little harm to others as possible (be it real harm or perceived harm). We do what we can and we hope for the best whatever that may be.
A new class of criminal is lurking in the shadows of organized society looking to take advantage of those who have been lulled into a false sense of complacency. The most effective criminals are often ones who can appear innocent. Their innocence gives an unsuspecting victim a feeling of security, and then, when their guard is down and they are at their most vulnerable, these criminals will strike. Babies are often thought to be the most innocent among us, but upon closer consideration, this façade of innocence quickly fades.
The other day I was walking around the local Target and a family shopping with an adorable little child who had to have been about a year and a half old sitting in a shopping cart. I immediately became fascinated with this family and began following them around the store. While they were in the toy aisle and the parents were distracted, I watching this “harmless” child reach out of the cart and grab a small toy car. He played with the toy car for the rest of his time in the store continuing to play with it as the parents moved through the checkout aisle and out of the store. This baby had just committed the crime of shoplifting. What disturbed me about this was the joyful, guilt free expression on the child’s face and the ease with which he pulled off this little heist. Many of you are apathetic to this sort of crime. You may wonder why it even matters. You may think that this sort of theft is a victimless crime. According to research done by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office in Olympia Washington, shoplifting costs American businesses 16 billion dollars per year. Yet babies, who commit this type of felony with impunity, are rarely held accountable for their crimes.
Recently, I watched two babies fight over who was going to get to play with a Fisher Price Little People Happy Sounds Home. One of the babies pushed the other baby to the floor and snatched it up into its sinister little hands. If this had taken place on a street corner and it had been a mugger throwing an older woman to the ground and taking her bag, people would have been horrified and the mugger would have been jailed for several years. This baby, however, was merely put in timeout for 2 minutes. After this so-called punishment, the baby returned to the toy room to no doubt continue its violent, plundering ways.
By the standards of any civilized society, babies are immoral little creatures. Let’s measure the actions of most babies against the golden rule: do unto others as they would do to you. This is a maxim that has showed up in different forms in many major world religions. Babies are often willfully negligent of this idea. If you were to rip a toy out of a baby’s hand, it would scream and cry for mommy or daddy to make things right. Clearly, babies value possessions and feel as if their rights to property should be protected. But babies will clumsily grab an item that belongs to another child without a moment’s thought. When the size two Hello Kitty slipper is on the other foot, they feel no remorse or empathy.
If this argument sounds absurd to you, it shows how deeply you have been conned. They look back at us with those darling little eyes and make those cute little sounds and we are ready to forgive almost anything. But we must not be fooled. The impact of baby kleptomania is a massive drain on our economy. Baby on baby crime has reached near epidemic levels. The sociopathic, inconsiderate nature of babies is an issue that has strained our great nation to its breaking point. As a society, we must band together and take a stand against them…before it’s too late.
Today I’d like to talk to you about a preservative that has been given a bad reputation over the years. Many people believe that because ester of wood rosin is made from wood or that its chemical cousin ester gum is used in paints, lacquers and varnishes, that it is something that they should avoid drinking. People who think this couldn’t be further from the truth. I have found, through days and days of careful research, that it is, in fact, a wonderous creation that has transformative, healing powers.
I came to this discovery by accident. I was in my home working on my model airplane collection and I cut my finger. I did not have a band aid, gauze or any soy sauce handy to stop the bleeding. Not wanting to ruin my scale model reconstruction of Delta’s first DC-10 airplane, I took the can of Fresca I was drinking and poured it directly on the wound. I wasn’t sure what might happen but you can imagine my surprise when the bleeding stopped and the wound closed within about 10 seconds. This was a rather large cut that should have required stiches, but the Fresca seemed to heal it right away.
I started to wonder why this happened so I looked at the can of Fresca. The ingredients seemed rather normal (EDTA, acesulfame potassium, brominated vegetable oil, carob bean gum). I looked each of the ingredients up and found nothing that piqued my interest until I got to ester of wood rosin. With one search of the internet, my entire life changed forever. Apparently, a scientist named Dr. Arnold Kreifeld conducted a study near Harvard University back in 2003 where he tested the effects of ester of wood rosin on injuries. Kreifeld’s assistants cut the arms of 100 study participants with razor blades. They then poured water on the wounds of half the participants and Fresca or Tahitian Treat (both drinks with large amounts of ester of wood rosin) on the other half. The half that were treated with ester of wood rosin showed significant improvement compared to the other group. Kreifeld, who is currently in Leavenworth Federal Prison for sending “suspicious” packages to news broadcasters, had stumbled on to the medical discovery of the decade, perhaps the century. Kreifeld first gained a great deal of recognition as a researcher for the tobacco industry back in the late 1980s. During his time there he co-authored a monumental study that showed that long term cigarette use leads to increased IQ scores. As important as his earlier work was, it is clear that his work in the field of ester of wood rosin research could have changed much of how we view medicine today. Had he not been imprisoned on trumped up charges, he’d be viewed with the same reverence as great medical minds like Jonas Salk, Hippocrates and Dr. Oz.
Deeply impressed with Dr. Kreifeld’s work, I decided to do a few experiments of my own. For one month, I bathed my two young children exclusively in Fresca. This was quite an expensive proposition (it takes nearly 17 cans of Fresca to fill a bath tub), but it was a sacrifice I needed to make for the good of mankind. My son, who we will refer to as Mortimer for the purposes of this post, has grown 29 inches since the experiment began. Mortimer, who at 3 years old stands nearly 6 feet tall, has already gotten recruiting phone calls from The University of Kentucky, The New Jersey Nets and The Ringling Brothers Circus. Thanks to ester of wood rosin, his future is bright.
I began pouring two cans of Fresca over my head per day, one first thing in the morning, one during afternoon visitation, and I have watched my head go from looking like bowling ball to having long, flowing Fabio-esque hair. My wife, who recently suffered a broken leg in a waterskiing accident, was injected with Fresca once a night during her sleep for two weeks. The doctors said it would take 3 months for her leg to heal; it took 9 days. I took a syringe to a local senior center down the street and randomly injected an 82 year old woman. With one surprise injection of ester of wood rosin, she went from barely able to walk to turning double back flips while singing the opening song from Guys and Dolls.
Fresca is not the only soft drink with ester of wood rosin, but I prefer it because of it’s tangy flavor. There are many drinks that contain this miracle of modern science. Several government military contractors and food conglomerates are considering creating ester of wood rosin supplements which may be on the shelf at your local supermarket within the next few years. Until then, you’ll have to stick to drinking soft drinks to get the health benefits of this little wonder. When you are staring at your birthday cake and looking at 146 candles, you’ll thank me for this great bit of advice.
I am amazed at what has happened. The Sarah Palin “Oystergate” scandal is becoming a major national news story!!! I just pulled this off of the wire 10 minutes ago. (If you are just finding out about this story here are links to the original article and Palin’s reply)
Bloomington, MN (API)-In a bizarre scandal that is being called “Oystergate”, Sarah Palin is being accused of having a deep hatred of Swedish people. This story began when Palin agreed to write a music interview on a small website called “The Tyranny of Tradition”. Palin’s review, in which she shared her feelings about music including a love for the rock group The Blue Oyster Cult, started off as a simple discussion of heavy metal and quickly turned into an anti-Swedish diatribe where she claimed to be concerned about “slick talking Swedish terrorists” and referred to the government of Sweden as being “brutal and oppressive”. In a follow-up email, Palin added fuel to the fire by misquoting William Shakespeare and saying that there was “something rotten in the state of Sweden”.
The Swedish Embassy officially condemned Palin’s remarks. Swedish spokesman Per Gustafson said, “The Swedish people are deeply offended by Palin’s statement. Anti-Swedism has no place in the world of mature political communication.”
Late in the afternoon, things took a decided turn for the worse for the Palin camp. Helen Blomquist, the personal housekeeper for the Palins from 2006 until 2008, dropped a bombshell when she accused Palin of using anti-Swedish language around their Wasilla home. According to Blomquist, during a heated meeting with one of her top advisors, Palin shouted “Grow up! Stop acting like such a Swede!”
Blomquist also claims that, as a sick joke, she was regularly pelted with Swedish fish and subjected to mocking anti-Swede insults by Mrs. Palin and her husband Todd.
In the wake of the growing scandal, the Palin camp has issued a statement saying, “Sarah has nothing but love and appreciation for the Swedish people. The comments of Mrs. Blomquist are entirely untrue. Any accusations of Anti-Swedism are purely a creation of the left-wing media.”
However, growing tension has clearly plagued Palin’s staff. Hilda Erickson, Palin’s Chief of Swedish Relations, resigned this afternoon citing “personal, family related reasons.”
Swedish-Americans have taken to the streets to voice their outrage at Palin’s comments. A group of nearly 500 angry Swedes stood in front of the IKEA in Bloomington, Minnesota today carrying protest signs, shouting “Palin hates Swedes” and proudly singing the Swedish National Anthem. Hilmar Lindquist, head of the Swedes For America group, has demanded an apology. Until Palin apologizes, Lindquist and several of his followers have begun a 40 day lingonberry-only fast.
This was in my inbox about a half an hour ago. In case you missed how this whole thing started, here’s a link to the original article. I’m really not sure what to think about anything anymore. Things have gotten simply too weird.
Anyway, here’s Sarah…
I want to clear up some misconceptions that came up in my review of Ghost’s “Opus Eponymous”. I have received a good amount of angry emails from people who felt that I made remarks that were demeaning towards Swedish people. I even received an angry message from the Swedish embassy. I want to go on the record as saying I have nothing but respect and admiration for the Swedish people. Some of the most significant Americans of the last 100 years have been Swedes. John W. Nordstrom, founder of the Nordstrom’s retail chain, was born in Sweden. Astronaut and American hero Buzz Aldrin is part Swedish. Even wonderful entertainers like Julia Roberts and Tippi Hedren claim Sweden part of their great ancestry.
Just so you know, I was one of the first shoppers at IKEA when it opened in Anchorage. They have all of those sturdy pieces of furniture with the silly names. I think we bought a Flarn for Piper’s room that day. Every Sunday, Todd and I drive an hour to treat the family to breakfast at the closest IHOP over in the town of Chuloonawick. Every week without fail I order the Swedish pancakes. Surprisingly enough, both my and Todd’s favorite candy are Swedish fish. I ask you, do I sound like someone who hates Swedish people?
The point I was trying to make was not that we should hate all Swedes or the country of Sweden. Sweden is clearly an up and coming country. They have their own embassy, which tells you a lot about them. IKEA has a business model all Americans can be proud of. Once they grow out of their socialist phase like Russia did, they could easily rejoin the great nations that have refuted socialism and embraced values we can all stand for. The point I was trying to make in the article really had nothing to do with Swedes. It was more the idea that we should naturally be aware that some foreigners are against what we stand for and are dangerous. Since we can never be quite sure which ones are the bad ones, we must naturally be aware of all of them and treat them with appropriate caution. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of vigilance when our safety and well-being is at stake. When we are dealing from refuges from a socialist country like Sweden we must be even more prepared for the threat of potential anti-Americanism or worse. Even a writer and poet as great as Shakespeare understood this. He put it brilliantly when he wrote those now famous words “something is rotten in the state of Sweden.” I am clearly not the only one with these sorts of concerns.
I was very upset by your comments last night on MSNBC. After reading your article about the Beatles, I was sure you were someone I had a good deal in common with. How wrong I was! The statement you made about “condoning my metalheadedness but not my blockheadedness” was simply unfair. First of all, metalheadedness is not a word. Secondly, it upset me to no end to hear you give ammunition to an arm of the liberal media empire like MSNBC. They are clearly out to destroy me. In a week where I’ve experienced such awful attacks and personal suffering I would think you could have been a bit nicer. I simply will not write anything else for your stupid little blog.
Posted by Keith Spillett in Articles I Probably Shouldn't Have Bothered Writing on January 10, 2011
I’ve been doing this for three months and I decided, since the point of this blog for me is to better understand the mess in between my ears, to do a quick inventory of what I have learned in doing this. Personally, I’m not a big fan of this sort of exercise, but I figure I can indulge my narcissistic tendencies for a few lines. If you are not one for eavesdropping on the self-reflections of a stranger, this is probably the column to skip. In fact, this column is probably of no practical purpose to anyone except me. I’m sure I could think of something to say where it could make it seem like I’m trying to present something of value to the human race and how we’re all the same in some ways and all of that, but it would be highly disingenuous and I haven’t the time or interest to bother. If you can find something worthwhile in the next 900 or so words, more power to you. Away we go:
1. I really enjoy talking to strangers. I get a genuine buzz out of the reply part of the column. I am really excited to see what people think of what I wrote and I like trying to synthesize their ideas with mine. I’m like a 17 year old waiting for the limo to show up on prom night every time I see one of those “Please Moderate Comment” messages in my email inbox. Getting a reply never fails to make my day.
2. I’m a heck of a lot meaner than I thought. For a good number of years, I have functioned under the assumption that I was over the whole “being evil to people” thing. I spent a good portion of my teen years and some of my twenties being downright cruel to others because I liked how the words I was saying sounded. I had a notion that this was gone, but I have had a few moments where I felt bad blood boiling up to the surface again. Sometimes, I get hooked into the rhythm of how things sound and forget that I am talking about another human being. There are moments where I think I would probably throw my grandmother off a speeding train just to see if she’d bounce. I’m not particularly proud of this aspect of my character, but it’s real.
3. Sarcasm reads different than it sounds. I check in with a few of my friends who know me off of here to get a sense of how things came across on the page. What is astonishing is that points I make that I think are obviously sarcastic do not always translate how I think they do. How it sounds in my head is not always how it sounds in other people’s minds.
4. I have no idea what the reader is thinking. This could really be 3B, but I felt like it deserved its own number. There is a weird calculus that must be considered when writing to an audience. You aren’t just thinking of the idea, but also what people will think when they read the idea. Throw in the fact that I don’t really know a lot of the people who are reading my stuff and I get a sense that I am never really going to understand how things are going to be perceived, but I can’t help but to try to figure out what the reader is going to see in my words. The stuff I’ve written that I liked the best is usually way different than the stuff other people have said they liked. It’s a heck of a mystery. What makes it somewhat frustrating for me is that in person, I’m halfway decent at reading a persons response and flowing off of that. In writing, I really am not sure how to do that yet and I’m not sure I’ll ever know or if it is even possible.
5. I am terrified of repeating myself or writing a boring column. There are several things of written that I read and thought, “Wow! This is horrendously bad.” Mercifully, I have not included most of them on the blog (but there have been a few that made it). The worst thing I feel like I could ever do to a reader is bore them. I also worry that I am going forget that I used a line and repeat it in another column. The second one is an odd thing to be worried about, but it wakes me up sometimes in a sweat.
6. Speaking of blinding fear and panic…I am frightened I will run out of ideas. I don’t even want to write about this one because I’m afraid that the god of ideas will decide that to punish me for some earlier, unnamed transgression and the part of my brain that produces creative ideas will seize up like the engine in most any Ford that gets over 125,000 miles. I now have even more respect for people who do this for a living on deadline. I try to imagine doing this and attempting to be interesting for 300 or so days during the year. The thought terrifies me. I think I would sleep about 20 minutes a night and would probably end up in a padded cell scrawling the lyrics from some Beach Boys song in mustard on the wall. Grantland Rice wrote constantly for over 50 years and barely ever wasted anyone’s time. Isaac Asimov managed to knock out over 400 books. I’m only three months in and I’m already doing the hackneyed “talk about myself and what I’ve learned” column.
7. Commas are infuriating. I never know when to use them and they always seem like they are in the wrong place.
8. Spell check will not catch sentences that are just plain awful. It only manages to catch spelling and grammar mistakes. I have snuck some genuine garbage past its watchful eye without a hint of a squiggly green line.
9. I am even more obsessive about this than I thought I’d be. I stayed away from doing this for a while because I have the type of personality where I get very, very into things. I knew this would be an issue going in, but wow. If my wife has to endure another dinner table discussion about potential blog ideas, I’ll shoot me for her.
Enough of this already. I’ll try to get back to something interesting next time. Maybe I can write about what I did on my summer vacation or an exciting tell-all piece about my favorite flavor of ice cream.