Thursday, January 26, 2012

13 Words That Sound Naughty But Really Aren't

13 Words That Sound Naughty But Really Aren't

1. PENAL  
(subject to punishment of crimes)
Is it a penal offense for men to stroll naked on the beach?

(substance used to enrich the flavor of foods) 
It was too late to tell her I forgot to use any type of condiment.

My escape from the hospital was thwarted when the doctors circumscribed me.

I furiously masticated the babysitter's sweet candy before my wife returned home with the groceries.

(training technique for runners) 
The young men were supposed to stay packed together, but the fartlek was particularly intense.

(covered opening) 
In his new position, Rodney provided his crew with safe entrance to his manhole.
[He's a city public works employee with responsibilities.]

(British pudding (dessert)) 
Buck proudly presented his spotted dick to Kitty and she gobbled it down with a smile.

(to use gestures for emphasize words or instead of speaking) 
The subway passengers sat uncomfortably while the homeless man's dirty coat swung open from his wild gesticulations.

(person in their 60s) 
Now that she was a sexagenarian, she decided to forgo birth control altogether.

(speaking words to be transcribed or recorded) 
Feeling powerful, he leaned back and allowed his secretary to take his dictation.

(person who plays the piano) 
[I had to steal at least one from The Simpsons the rest are my invention.]

"This guy walks into a  bar, he takes out a tiny piano and a twelve inch pianist, oh, no, wait, I can't tell that one!"  -Krusty the Clown 

(intense chest pain)
I know the doctors say your angina looks really bad right now, but do we really have to stop loving each other?

13. TITTER (giggle)
Rebecca couldn't suppress her nervous titters after she spilled frigid iced tea on her white shirt.

Do you have any favorite words that sound funny, are fun to pronounce, or sound dirty like these?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Trick to Writing – Revealed

Performance Artist, Johan Lorbeer
"How do you solve the Rubik's Cube?"

I hear that a lot.  But most people really don't want to hear the answer.  They'll make some quip about solving it when they were younger by tearing off the stickers or simply giving up out of frustration.

They'd rather believe the illusion that it's nearly impossible to solve.  After all, there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible configurations.  Lottery odds don't deal with numbers so large!

Let me level with you.

There is no big secret.  But, once I describe one of the countless methods to solve the Rubik's Cube, the mystique wears off and I often hear a contemptuous, "Oh, it's just a trick?"

No, it's not just a trick.  But in hindsight, any elegant answer to a complex problem seems like a trick.

With the Rubik's Cube, if you understand a few basic concepts and rules it can be rather straightforward and intuitive to solve.  However, depending on your approach, it can also appear quite complex.  Some such methods designed for speed-solving require the memorization of several hundred algorithms, or seemingly magic moves, that will have a particular effect on a portion of the Rubik's Cube.  For any non-speedcuber, such a technique can appear to be nothing more than a gimmick.

The reality is, no matter the approach, the Rubik's Cube does not solve itself with some hushed secret trick we cubers don't want you to know about.

What about writing?  Tell me the secret trick to writing.

Johan Lorbeer

The only trick is to get your butt into the chair.  Write.  Just write.  That's it.  Write!

You must do the work.  There is no magic formula to help you write your story.  There are no algorithms to memorize.  There is no other real trick.

All the talk about you being a plotter or a pantser, (writing by 'the seat of your pants',) doesn't really matter if you don't actually do the writing.  So, that's it.  The real trick to writing – write.

Perhaps you've heard this before:  the best person to write your story is you.  In fact, the only person to write your story is you.  What are you waiting for?  Forget about trying to find the latest secrets and shortcuts, get your butt in the chair already!


What gets your butt into the chair to write?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

13 Different Ways to Laugh

Writing is serious business, that is why I really appreciate what comedy writers do.  

I love to laugh, but unfortunately, it doesn't happen enough.  Okay, I laugh at myself, but that's usually more of a gentle chuckle.  Anyway, for me to get a hearty laugh, great comedy also makes me think.

Today, I wanted to share a list of quotes that I think are really funny.  I'm sure at least one of these will make you laugh – and hopefully make you think, too.

13 Great Quotes From Comedy

1.  I took a speed reading course and read "War and Peace" in twenty minutes.  It involves Russia.
  -Woody Allen

2. A lot of people like lollipops. I don't like lollipops. To me, a lollipop is hard candy plus garbage. I don't need a handle. Just give me the candy.
  -Demetri Martin

3. Schrödinger's furniture both did and did not have fur all over it.
  -God via Twitter (@TheTweetOfGod)

4. Madam, there's no such thing as a tough child – if you parboil them first for seven hours, they always come out tender.
  -W.C. Fields

5. A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks.  You really think when Jesus comes back he ever wants to see a f***ing cross?  Kinda like going up to Jackie Onassis with a little sniper rifle pendant.
  -Bill Hicks

6. There's no such thing as soy milk.  It's soy juice.
  -Lewis Black

7. The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.
  -George Carlin

8. Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?
  -Steven Wright

9. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the next four presenters: Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz.
  -Chris Rock, Host of the Oscars

10. I like video games, but they are very violent. I want to create a video game in which you have to help all the characters who have died in the other games. 
   "Hey, man, what are you playing?" 
   "Super Busy Hospital. Could you leave me alone? I'm performing surgery! This guy got shot in the head, like, 27 times!"
  -Demetri Martin

11. "No Comment" is a comment.
  -George Carlin

12. I replaced the headlights in my car with strobe lights so it looks like I'm the only one moving.
   -Stephen Wright

13. A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study:  Duh.
   -Conan O'Brien

Any favorites of your own?  Please leave a comment.

Thank you cheriejoyful on Flickr for the adorable boy.  He makes me smile just looking at the photo.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Short Stories? Like, Gag Me With A Spoon!

Yes, that was Nicolas Cage in 1983.
Happy New Year!

I tend to be oblivious to popular trends.  So I missed out during the early 80s and wasn't one of the manic geeks obsessed with the Rubik's Cube.

No, it took another twenty-five years for that to happen.

A new website called, YouTube (pronounced, yoo-tyoob,) allowed you to upload, view, and share videos.  It opened my eyes to a new and bustling world of the Rubik's Cube. A resurgence had been long underway.

Back in 2003, the World Cube Association held the World Rubik's Games Championship and the Rubik's Cube's popularity skyrocketed again.

Okay, skyrocketed may be overstating it a little, but when one of the geeks from the quasi-reality show, Beauty and the Geek, solved the Rubik's Cube behind his back, it was clear the cube was back in the mainstream.

Now if you talk about the short story, most people will say they have gone the way of the towering shoulder pads and over sized jackets of the 80s.  Some say the short story is dead.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

Is a frenzied resurgence of the short story just around the corner?  There is certainly potential with these major elements:
  • short attention spans
  • fewer newspaper and magazine sales
  • seekers of high quality, low cost reads
Sadly, I don't think we're going to see a resurgence soon.  Here's why.  Everyone is competing for our time.  As readers, we still look for quality reading, but in the quickest and easiest manner.  We could track down dozens of anemic literary magazines, or we could simply go to

But the Amazon machine is broken.

As long as Amazon is a stomping ground for the 99 cent eBook, short stories cannot have the massive success they once had and still deserve today.

Take a cue from iTunes.

The music industry adapted and began selling 99 cent songs so consumers could impulsively fill up their MP3 players.  But there is a clear delineation between a radio single and an entire album.  You don't see albums selling for 99 cents.  And you don't see 1 penny songs for that matter.

Should a short story have the same value as a novel?

There should be a clear delineation between the price of a short story and an eBook novel.  If readers buy a short story for 99 cents and like it, they will, and should, pay more for your novel.

The short story is not dead, but readers like me are waiting for the next revolution.  I would love to see talented short story writers be able to earn a living like Charles Dickens.  I think the potential is there for it to happen, but not without some changes.

What do you think?  Is 2012 the year of the short story?