This isn't called 'Untitled' because that would be a title.

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/02/this-isnt-called-untitled-because-that.html
I awake with an odd feeling in my belly. It is almost like the feeling one receives after having been falling for more than a few seconds; that sense, after the initial reaction of feeling like all of one’s internal organs became gridlocked on their through the neck into the brain, that one experiences several moments into a free fall in which it no longer feels unpleasant, but sort of euphoric. It is similar to that momentary enjoyment that occurs immediately after a sneeze.

The dream that sent me crashing back to consciousness was bizarre, to be sure, but more in a “what does it mean?” sense than a “I’m afraid I’ve gone insane” way. I had been trapped in some sort of environment without any gravity, though I had no suit of any kind and I was able to breathe freely. I floated around for a few moments before I noticed that one of my back teeth was loose. This struck me as odd, because I was a grown adult and had already lost all of my baby teeth, but I tried to pull it out anyway. The more I pulled, though, the more I just did somersaults in mid air. Because there was no gravity, I could never get any leverage, so I simply pulled myself in circles over and over.

Then, at some point, I simply woke up. Nothing woke me up, there was no loud noise or anything of the sort, I just snapped out of it, which is something that rarely happens to me while I am dreaming unless it is a bad dream. This wasn’t a bad dream, though, just strange.

Lies Parents Tell

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/lies-parents-tell_29.html
Parents are liars. Seriously. I think it’s a requirement to be a parent.

Don’t believe me? Who told you all about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and the Labor Day Gnome? (What, you’ve never heard of the Labor Day Gnome? You know, the little fellow that comes at night and stocks your kitchen full of beer, pretzels and pork rinds for the football-filled holiday? I guess that was an original creation of my dad.)

Parents lie all the time. I don’t fault them for that—it’s part of the job, like passing the buck in a corporate job or schmoozing in a marketing job. In the job requirements under the posting for “Parent,” you’ll see all kinds of personality traits and characteristics, such as “Able to withstand loud noises for extended periods of time,” “Enjoys saying the word ‘No,’”and “Willing to work evenings, weekends and holidays, as well as basically every minute of every day.”

And at the bottom of such a list, were it to exist, would be the last, but nowhere near least important, requirement: “Capable of telling lies with conviction and finesse.”

If this seems harsh, I apologize. I’m in favor of this. I’ve met a lot of rotten kids in my day, though thankfully I never was one. If parents can exert more control over them by stringing them along with a cute little lie about a magical rabbit who poops candy on Easter, then so be it.

However, some of the common lies parents tell I just don’t agree with. With that in mind, here are some parental lies I think the world could do without:

1) Eating raw cookie dough could kill you.
Yeah yeah, I’ve heard all about big bad “salmonella,” but have your parents ever told you what it does to you? Have you ever known anyone who got “salmonella poisoning?” Of course not. As near as I can tell, the only reasons for this lie is to avoid kids getting their slobber in the cookie dough and to make sure parents have enough to make all the cookies they want to make. Based on how delicious cookie dough is, I don’t find those reasons to be substantial enough to warrant those lies.

2) Eating vegetables is good for you.
People are still spreading this falsehood around. To refute it, one must only think of the natural world. Many poisonous animals have very distinctive colors to ward off predators from eating them, thereby saving two lives. I think this is a good comparison to make with vegetables. The reason they taste so bad is because they are bad for you—so don’t eat vegetables and save two lives.

3) It’s bad to lie.
Ah! Lying to kids about how it’s bad to lie—that’s like putting someone to death for committing murder. It’s not always bad to lie. Case in point: Sam’s wife asks him how he likes her new haircut. Sam tells her the truth—that her new haircut makes her look like Sasquatch with Chihuahuas growing out of its ears—and Sam sleeps alone on the couch for a couple nights while Sam’s wife cries herself to sleep. Wouldn’t a little lie have benefited both parties?

What are your favorite parental lies?

It makes me Sick!

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/it-makes-me-sick.html
I think we could all take a cue on how to act from Mr. Flu.

This isn’t a wise elderly gentleman I know that you haven’t met yet. Rather, I’m talking about influenza, the disease that gets passed on from person to person so well it would make Haley Joel Osment and his co-stars of the film, “Pay It Forward,” quite proud.

Here we come quickly to the central point of this post: contagious diseases, like Mr. Osment, teach us about generosity. They coach us on how to live more deeply, in a more fulfilling way, helping others and giving of ourselves constantly.

And how do we repay disease and illness? Are we ever thankful? When was the last time we said to one another "Hey, I think I got my cold from you. Thank you! Now I can pass it on to several of my healthy and deserving compatriots."

Sickness and disease are most underrated, underappreciated, and generous of all of us. And despite adopting several different foreign children, Brangelina isn’t even as generous as disease. I think even Haley Joel Osment would agree on that.

A slippery situation

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/slippery-situation.html
Slippery. Slimy. Slick. It made a sluicing sound as it squished through the sides.

The water was warm on my hands, making them feel cleaner as it washed the rest of the soap suds away. However, when I had finished washing and drying them off, I noticed that grimy/sticky feeling remained on the palm of my hand. I’m not entirely sure how it got there—maybe from checking my car’s oil or perhaps from rotating the wheels on my rollerblades—but it certainly wasn’t coming off by traditional methods.

I went to my secret weapon: dishwashing soap. After a couple minutes of scrubbing, washing and drying, my hands were clean as a whistle again. Cleaner, actually--whistles are always in someone's mouth, I doubt they're that clean.

When I thought about this later, though, I realized something bizarre: if dishwashing soap is stronger than hand soap, why don’t we just use dishwashing soap all of the time?

I'm an avid hand washer. Even if I'm not doing anything at all--if I'm just sitting on the couch, contemplating my navel, without a care in the world--I start to feel like my hands are dirty after a length of time. So I wash them constantly, despite often telling people it has been more than a few days since the last washing. Ever since finding out about the almost magical properties of dishwashing soap, I've converted and will never go back.

First of all, it feels nicer. Instead of the gel-like feeling of some soaps, dishwashing soap has a nice silky syrupy feel that brings handwashing above and beyond just a tactile experience. Second, and lastly (because how many reasons do you need, anyway?), it makes my hands cleaner. If I wash my hands with normal hand soap and they can't get the job done, then I use dishwashing soap and it makes them feel brand new, wouldn’t it make more sense to use the latter soap at every opportunity? Why wouldn't I want my hands to be as clean as possible at every opportunity? This is especially relevant since we use hands for so many more tasks that we use dishes, such as for eye-booger wiping and nose picking, to name but a few.

To better illustrate my point, here is a very similar example: Why would you drive a VW Rabbit when you've got a Lamborghini in the garage?

You wouldn't.

The most rewarding part of love

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/most-rewarding-part-of-love.html
As I finished talking, she looked at me sheepishly, like she had something she wanted to say but had forgotten how to speak. Finally, she said in a tiny voice, “I don’t know if I’m ready.”

“Babe, we’ve been together for nearly three years now. I just think it’s time that we take our relationship to a new level.” I was nearly pleading with her at this point.

“I’m just afraid that I’ll open up to you and I’ll end up getting hurt,” she responded.

“You know I love you, honey. You know this. Whether we do this or not, it won’t affect the way I feel about you. But I know that it will deepen our relationship and bring us more intimately together.”

Head pointed slightly toward the floor, her eyes darted up and looked at me, and I thought I saw a small twinkle in them. And sure enough, a quiet grin swept lightly across her face, one cheek to the other.

“Okay,” she said, almost whispering. “Okay.”

With that, she leaned slightly to the side, and I heard a soft exhale, like someone opening a new bottle of Coke, punctuated by two short high-pitched squeaks.

Her eyes widened a bit in anticipation of my reaction. I hugged her close to me and told her, “I’ve never felt closer to you.”

* * *

Is there any moment in a relationship quite like the first time your girlfriend farts in front of you? I don’t think there is.

There’s a certain crude magic to it. Provided your girlfriend isn’t named Helga or Bertha and has never won any chili-eating contests, you may not be accustomed to an elegant young woman squeaking one out, asking everybody if they smell fresh baked bread. After all, women are advised from a very young age that farts may be a lot of things, but ladylike is not one of them.

This is precisely the reason that the “long-term relationship fart” can be so important. You’re acting in a way that is completely against everything you might have ever been taught, but a way that is so in line with one’s true nature that once it happens, it feels so natural you wonder how you ever lived without it.

So whether you feel it necessary to have “the talk,” or if a loud one pops out accidentally mid-laugh, farts—especially girl farts—should be a celebrated occasion in any committed relationship. After all, girl farts are like unicorns: they are almost mythical, and you’ll most likely only encounter one if you believe very strongly that they are real.

Well, I believe. Do you?

Buried Treasure

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/buried-treasure.html
I've just finished looking for a pile of cash in my room. I use the term "finished" loosely there, as I didn't find it and therefore will probably continue looking at a later date.

Let me clear this up for anyone confused: I actually lost a pile of cash—or, more accurately, an envelope full of cash—in my room somewhere a month ago. It's not like I just decided one day—today—that I had nothing important on my schedule and thus would hunt around my room to see if I could find a pile of cash. Sure I love the thrill of an adventure, but even that's pushing it for me.

As for when I lost it, I say a month ago because that's the last time I saw it. It's not as if a month ago I placed it somewhere and immediately defined it as "lost." That would just be plain silly, after all, because 1) I would be lying to myself and anyone I told such a yarn to since if I placed it somewhere, logically I would have to know where it was unless I suffered a massive head injury of some sort immediately after I "lost" it, and 2) putting a pile of cash somewhere and immediately declaring it as "lost" seems a lot like someone is trying to lose it—though one would have to be quite deranged to think something like that might actually work in the first place—and who would actually want to "lose" a big pile of cash, anyway?

As I began to tell before I got lost in my own head, I just finished looking for the envelope today, and I noticed something quite odd about my scouring behavior. After looking in my desk drawers and school bags, and checking around my desk area, I proceeded to look in the bathroom cabinet, my underwear drawer, and even inside of a bible.

Having not found what I was looking for in any of those places—since, of course, my search was not for foot ointment, boxer shorts, or enlightenment—I continued the search.

I thought about how I had looked in most of the usual places first, of course, but later in my quest had found myself checking places that not only did I know I wouldn't find the envelope but if I were to find it there, I would be vaguely disturbed at my own thought process for 1) leaving it there in the first place, 2) thinking to look there after so much time had passed, and 3) knowing I would think to look there when I left it there to begin with. So now, after having given up looking for the day, instead of pondering where else on this unforgiving planet I might have left a whole load of cash, I'm stuck instead trying to understand the intricate twisted nature of my own psyche.

It's a strange feeling, to say the least.

The Making of a Scandal, Part 3

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/making-of-scandal-part-3.html
This is the last installment in a three part series. To view the other segments, click here.

When last we left off, we were making papier mache dolls of cute little babies, then "accidentally" leaving them in the driveway and "accidentally" running them over when the neighbors happened to be watching. And we were doing all of those in an attempt to be friendly and playful but also strive to maintain some "edge," some bad boy status that will help build the attraction and lure in readership.

Is it working? Well... are you reading this? The answer to both questions is the same.

STEP 3: Do something high profile, stupid and downright crazy.

Lucky for us, there are a lot of good role models in this area. Bill Clinton had his Monica, Pam Anderson had her Tommy, Marv Albert had his chewing toy. These are all people whose names we won’t soon forget because they followed the scandal steps to success. They might not have been lighting the world on fire, but they had enough exposure that they became overnight sensations (or more accurately, humiliations).

Obviously, I’m not advocating engaging in oval office extracurriculars, “behind the music” videos with a bad boy drummer, or biting back (so to speak). But the idea is solid: once people know you exist, engage in some outrageous behavior to stand out among the crowd.

We here at MisusingBigWords are at somewhat of a disadvantage in that area, though, since our site and some of what can be found therein is fairly ridiculous and outrageous already. Also, we’re on the internet, where people have come to expect ridiculous and outrageous content.

So here’s what I’m thinking, and hopefully it’s both high profile and stupid enough to get some attention to our little grassroots blog: We get a bunch of senior citizens, preferably some with little bladder control, and we dress them solely in white knee-high socks and white pointed hoods, paint all sorts of offensive symbols (pentagrams, anarchy, etc) on their chests with some sort of animal’s blood, then give them slingshots and tell them to run around shooting each other. Then we take pictures of it all, write a nice story about it, and post it on here like it’s a children’s fairy tale.

I’m fairly certain that would fulfill all the obligations of ridiculous, outrageous, high profile, stupid, and not just downright crazy but almost criminally insane, and thereby hopefully cause the scandal I’ve been talking about in my two previous “The Making of a Scandal” posts.

STEP 4: Profit.

I’ve provided the structure for driving visitors to the site, now it’s just a matter of making it pay off. But that’s a story for another day.

America has bad gas

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/america-has-bad-gas.html
War for oil? High gas prices? Who cares! What really ticks me off is not the amount of gas prices, it’s the format.

Why do gas prices end in 9/10? How do they suppose they can charge 9/10 of a cent? I went to fill up my tank the other day, and got 13 gallons at 3 dollars and 13 and 9/10 cents a gallon. What’s the deal here? It looks like it’s $3.13, but it’s not really. It’s practically $3.14. So why don’t they just write $3.14?

Now don’t get me wrong here. I understand capitalism and marketing and how the human mind is more likely to buy something for $9.99 than for $10 even, despite the fact that it’s only a penny difference. While that is pretty silly, it doesn’t really concern me, because it is, after all, a penny—some tangible piece of money that I can actually use (though there will be more spoken about that in a future post).

In the case of gas, though, we don’t have tenths of a cent. There is no such thing. So how can they get away with charging something we don’t have? It’s just an easy way of skimming just a little bit more off the top. When your total adds up to $41.50 and 5/10 of a cent, it automatically rounds up to 41.51. How is that fair? I should be getting that last 5/10 of a cent back, but I can’t, because it doesn’t exist anywhere except in the gas station owner’s head.

That’s not even the worst part, though. Because of supply and demand, if two gas stations charge $3.13 and 9/10 for a gallon of gas, and one decides to be decent and logical and drop that 9/10 crap off and just sell his for $3.13, the other guy would simply drop his down to $3.12 and 9/10. It’s the most vicious of cycles, and nobody seems to care because "it’s just tenths of a cent."

Well, I, for one, think this is both unreasonable and ridiculous. Do the quick math: let’s say the average person takes about 5 minutes to fill up one’s car, and puts about 12 gallons of gas in there. Then let’s say there are about 4 people filling up at any given time at a given gas station—for the sake of argument, let’s have them all begin and end at the same time. So, every 5 minutes, 4 people fill their cars with 12 gallons of gas each. That’s 48 gallons per 5-minute increment. That means every hour 576 gallons are being bought and paid for from one gas station. Just for a conservative estimate, let’s say this gas station isn’t 24 hours—it opens at 6 a.m. and closes at midnight. That gives it 18 hours of operating time, and at 576 gallons an hour, we’re looking at 10,368 gallons per day.

Now let’s say that there are two gas stations that sell the same amount of gas per day. One charges $2 per gallon, the other $2 and 9/10 of a cent. (Yes, $2 per gallon; this is my fantasy, I'm going to make it a good one.) For an average tank of gas—12 gallons—the first station charges $24, while the second charges $24.10 and 8/10 of a cent. And, of course, they round up to $24.11. That means that, on average, the second station skims 2/10 of a cent off of each person’s bill, which equals $1.728 per day and $630.72 per year. That makes petty criminals out of every single gas station owner, and accomplices out of every attendant. And those stations in the middle of nowhere that do loads of business? Well, they might even be charged for grand theft—that is, if anybody cared. But since nobody does, I guess I’ll just go on with my life, getting ripped off day in and day out. After all, it’s just a couple tenths of a cent. No big deal.

What happens when other industries start charging 9/10 of a cent? How would you feel about paying 9/10 of a cent on your orange mocha frappucinos at Starbucks? An avid frapper (frappucino-drinker) might buy one for $3.50 every weekday, effectively buying roughly 260 every year (365 days a year minus 104 weekend days) for $910 per year. If Starbucks started charging $3.50 and 9/10 of a cent per drink, they're skimming a tenth of a cent off this avid frapper every time she buys a frappucino, 26 cents every year. If she continues this habit her entire working life, from 20 years old to 65 years old, she will have lost $11.70 for her lifetime. That is enough to write a check for $11.70 to give to her grandson for a birthday present.

Luckily, Starbucks hasn't resorted to stealing from the elderly yet. Which is more than I can say for gas stations.

Let’s say that the average driver, beginning at age 20 and not driving after turning 60 (because let's face it: we probably don't want them on the road after 60 anyway) fills up his tank one time every two weeks with 12 gallons of gas. That means the average driver fills up his car 26 times a year with a total of 312 gallons annually. Over the 40 year span of his life behind the wheel, the average driver buys 12,480 gallons of gas, filling his 1,040 times. Now, no matter how much gas fluctuates, let’s assume that gas stations will always set the price at some dollar and cent amount plus 9/10 of a cent per gallon. For 12 gallons of gas, one will automatically lose 2/10 of a cent each time one fills the tank. That’s $2.08 each person is getting ripped off during their life.

That may not seem like much, but I could buy a cheeseburger with that, and I’m hungry. Screw you, gas stations.

An inspiring encounter

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/inspiring-encounter.html
I was sitting in my office when the office cleaning lady came in.

"Hello," She said.

"Hello," I said.

This particular cleaning lady comes in almost every day, so we've become friendly with each other. However, she speaks very little English, so I don't ever make much conversation with her, despite knowing some Spanish, because I feel like if she doesn't know what I'm saying she will be disappointed and embarrassed. Probably nothing like that would happen, but oh well.

The gentleman that used to share the office with me was a very talkative fellow, and would often engage her in conversation, often beginning the conversing with this phrase "Es correcto decir...?" (Is it correct to say?) and then ending his sentence with a very mangled bit of Spanish that would be most accurately described as correct, but not right--not right at all. While I enjoyed their interchanges, I am not comfortable enough with people to act his part, the part of the lovable doofus. I wish I could, but it's just not me. Not that I'm not lovable, or a doofus, I just don't think I could pull off both together.

Anyway, after exchanging greetings, I continued working, which on that day meant cleaning and organizing the office a bit. And my way of cleaning usually means everything gets a lot messier and dirtier and more chaotic before anything actually gets clean, so there were piles of paper and binders and paper clips stacked everywhere, as well as mounds of rubbish thrown away in the garbages.

"Cleaning?" She asked.

"Yep," I said, and gave her one of my "Oh yeah, you know it" smiles. You know, the ones that look remarkably like the "I'm smiling at you but I really wish you'd leave" smiles. This time, though, it was meant to be the first type of smile.

"Cleaning good," She pointed out.

"I know it," I agreed heartily.

"Trash no good," She explained.

"Oh I agree," I replied thoughtfully.

We continued doing our own respective work for a few more minutes.

"Okay, bye," She remarked with finality.

"Bye. Thanks," I told her, gratefully.

To this day, this has been the longest exchange we've had. I still I don't know her name, but I learned more from that cleaning lady than any other person might learn from any other cleaning lady in any other office anywhere, ever. I don't know if that's saying much, but, well... I'm saying it anyway.
I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/reasons-phrase-drinking-games-means.html
If you're planning to imbibe this weekend, here's a few surefire ways to make sure it's a night you will never remember.

Jeopardy!
1 Drink every time someone buzzes in
2 Drinks every time someone gets a wrong answer
4 Drinks every Daily Double
5 Drinks for Audio/Video Daily Doubles

Let’s Make a Deal
3 Drinks every time someone makes a deal

Wheel of Fortune
1 Drink every letter that is turned
2 Drinks every spin of the wheel
4 Drinks each time someone buys a vowel

The Dating Game
3 Drinks every time an innocuous comment is turned into a dirty euphemism

The Newlywed Game
3 Drinks every time someone says “Make whoopee”
1 Drink every time wives insult their husbands
4 Drinks every time husbands insult their wives
1 Drink every time couples kiss

Press Your Luck (aka the "Whammy!" show)
1 Drink every time someone gets a Whammy. Last person to shout “Whammy!” has to drink again.

Rockin' in the free world

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/rockin-in-free-world.html
I recently joined the ranks of the headphone-sporting, music-listening, iPod people. You know the ones. They walk around with those things in their ears, ignoring everything around them, that I’m-way-too-important-to-be-troubled-by-all-you-mortals-with-your-untethered-heads-and-your-unblocked-ears look on their faces.

Well, now that’s me.

The only problem is, I’ve always been very aware of my surroundings, constantly looking around, taking in the sites and sounds and smells (which can be especially fun in LA. Usually the smell is something like alfredo sauce stirred by dirty feet combined with oregano squirted with skunk juice).

Now, though, as I walk around with my jams kicking into my skull, I find something curious happening. First, I start walking to the beat. Pretty soon I’m bouncing down the street almost gangster-like as Grandmaster Flash tells me “The Message” of how the jungle of the city is weighing him down.

Then, almost on cue, the world syncs up to my tunes in an epic feat of harmony. The cars roar by in rhythm, a bus honks to punctuate the lull between the verse and the chorus, a jetliner soars overhead to perfectly complement the syncopated cadence of the music.

I’m practically swimming in my groovitude. I’m making eyes with everyone I come in contact with and we’re all nodding to the melody and to the notion--We’re alive, we’re hip, and we’re all in this together, making beautiful noise, making memories, and making the world a better place.

And just as suddenly, the album ends, and all that joy, that sorrow, that mix of emotion and blend of genius on the edge and artist on the verge, it all shatters and clatters and smashes back together into the dull roar of the city, waiting for something to stir it to life again.

There I am, looking around, thinking that maybe there’s something to these headphone-sporting pod people after all.

The Making of a Scandal, Part 2

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/making-of-scandal-part-2.html
This is the second part of a series. To read the previous entry, go here.

As I summed up in the last episode, what we need for this blog to really get its toes a-tappin' and its wings a-flappin' is a good scandal. Like Paris Hilton or Mel Gibson, we need to do something incredibly stupid, act completely irrationally, get totally slutted out, or just plain start dropping hate speech. However, Paris, Mel, the Spears girls, they all have one thing in common--they were all relatively well-known before starting their shenanigans.

Which brings us to...

STEP 1: Get Some Exposure

Sure, we could plaster up some doctored photos of Mother Theresa in a three way with Gandhi and Moses, but if nobody knows we exist, there's nobody to offend and thus, nobody to tell all their friends about "this disgusting site that had incredibly offensive photos called misusingbigwords.blogspot.com." (Plus, let's be honest. Nobody would believe those photos were real, anyway--Gandhi was always hunger-striking, there's no way he'd have the energy for a menage a trois.)

No, what we need is to get our foot in the door. Be friendly, but coy. Nice, but a little dangerous. Maybe show pictures of a cute and cuddly dog, and then say his name is Fang and he just ate the neighbor's newborn baby kittens. All 8 of them. As appetizers.

That's just one example of something that's not too offensive, but still has some edge.

Or perhaps we could tell a story about a child with some sort of terminal illness (cancer? rabies? whatever gets more sympathy), lead our readers through the tragic, day to day grief punctuated by moments of sweetness and joy, and then in the last paragraph, right before her twelfth (and probably last) birthday, she burned down a high school, just to feel the warmth of the fire and the destruction.

Something like that, I think, would go a long way to gaining readership.

Maybe we should just ask our readers.
What would be the best way to get a small amount of exposure in preparation for Step 2?
What kinds of things could we include in this little blog that would make someone pass it on to a friend?
How could we gain enough of a following to offend and instigate when the time comes?


Watch for part 3, coming soon...

Why I can't be a nudist

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/why-i-cant-be-nudist.html
I could never live in a nudist colony.

It's not the nudity part that I couldn't handle, although there are plenty of things to worry about with that, such as ugly people and inappropriately-timed erections. No, the thing I wouldn't be able to handle is the lack of pockets.

No matter if I'm going out or I'm home alone, I'm almost always at least wearing shorts, and most of the time they're cargo shorts with lots of pockets. And I use them all, boy do I ever. At any given time on any given day, if one were to ask me to empty my pockets, one would be confronted with a barrage of knick knacks that would turn the most dedicated packrat green with envy.

Besides the normal cell phone and wallet, I also typically have two or three business cards, six or seven receipts from the last places I went to dinner or the grocery store, a ballpoint pen (sometimes even two), a whole litter of keys on several different keyrings accompanied by four or five plastic Gold Club eXtreme Rewards Preferred Member cards they give you at supermarkets and video stores, ticket stubs for the last sporting event/movie/theater performance I attended, and several sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper folded twice over to be pocket-sized and containing information about either schedules, phone numbers of people I need to call, or musings I had written about why I could never be a nudist.

A wise man once said pockets are the greatest invention in the world, and although I wouldn't entirely agree—everyone knows the high five is the greatest invention of all time—pockets do slide in at a very close second place.

Colorful Commentary

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/colorful-commentary_04.html
Did you ever notice how colors evolve? I’m not talking about identity crises like orange getting a shade lighter and suddenly calling itself “Burnt Sienna.” I’m talking about an evolution of meaning, a whole paradigm shift in how we interpret colors.

Now, I’m no expert (not on colors, anyway), so I don’t want to get into the whole interior decorating/design aspect, where all the sudden we have a bushy-haired woman in reading glasses on a string around her neck standing in our living telling us not to paint the wall red because it’s too “emotionally charged” next to the “traditional peacefulness” of the olive-green couch.

No no no no no. What I’m talking about is perception; more accurately, auditory perception of colors. What comes to mind when something is described as pink? How should you feel if someone calls you blue, or yellow? Why isn’t it easy being green?

In fact, let’s start with that: green. I remember a time when I was a kid when green was grass, woods, soccer pitches, baseball infields and outfields. Then I grew up and experienced my first election as someone who actually understood not necessarily the specifics but at least what an election was and what it meant to win, and all of the sudden green became a joke. If Ross Perot was our third choice for people to be in charge of the country, and Ralph Nader and the Green Party was behind him, then how could green not become synonymous with jest?

Then four years later, there it was again. Only this time, Nader was third place and green was getting a little more serious.

2007, though, was a big year in the evolution of green. It really stepped up its act this year, making appearances on all kinds of TV shows and networks, getting buddy-buddy with Al Gore, which would not have been cool except for the amazing concert he put on in summer with hundreds of awesome bands all over the world. Yeah, green has really improved its image this year. It’s gotten hip, trendy, the couleur du jour, if you will. And all this simply because green is associated with saving the earth.

Well, I’ve never been a great fan of green. I think it’s greedy, it’s envious, it’s even kind of shallow sometimes. And that’s why I think blue is getting a bum rap.

Think about it. The earth’s surface is made up of about 70% water. So, if you were to look at a topographic map of the world, more than two thirds of it would be blue. You see what I mean about green stealing blue’s thunder? Blue should be enjoying some time in the limelight, shmoozing with rock stars, hanging with Gore, the poster child for "Saving the Planet." Blue should not have to deal with this tired old stigma of blue meaning sad and depressed.

Blue is happening, blue is alive, and blue is ready to bust out onto the world's stage. Except green is in the way, like a conniving little brother who always asks for help with school projects and then takes all of the credit for them.

Green. What a jerk.

Thoughts for 2008

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
http://misusingbigwords.blogspot.com/2008/01/thoughts-for-2008.html
Have you ever pondered to yourself:

"I'm so fascinating that someone should write a biography of me. Since no one has, I'll just do it myself. It's better this way--I don't have to share any royalties."

You haven't?

Oh.

I guess I'm the only one.

Well, happy new year anyway.
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