First Drafts

“Hey those guys in red are here.”

“A stich in time is a cross-stitch.”

“All men are created pretty much the same.”

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I was so confused I sat down and had a sandwich.”

“Success is 99% perspiration and then someone else’s money.”

“Revenge is a dish best served at brunch.”

“Be the change that you wish to see, I’m really hungry.”

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just sit down over there.”

“Mr. Sandman, bring me a Scotch.”

“The only thing we have to fear is possibly this little guy with a mustache over in Germany I’m hearing about.”

 

 

 

 

Being Funny in an Unfunny World

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It’s been hard to write a comedy blog the last couple of weeks. I just keep seeing so many terrible, terrible stories in the news. Senseless shootings and global warming and just… everything. I keep thinking of one of Steve Martin’s old routines where he talked about putting a slice of bologna into each of his shoes so he’d feel funny before he went on stage.

But I don’t think I could take the smell of bologna anymore, although I do long for a time where I loved bologna and white bread and maybe that’s why I keep singing the Oscar Mayer song “My Bologna has a first name…” It would just be great to be a kid and not look at the news and not care about anything else other than when I was going to get ice cream again.

Only that’s the problem. This is happening to kids. There’s kids in school who have to grieve for their friends. It’s tougher as we get older and relatives pass away, but these kids have lost the kid they had lunch with yesterday. That’s messed up.

What are we doing? Where do we have to start to get people not to lose their mind. I think we have to start young. Always seemed a shame to me that so much is expected of kids at a younger age in school. I think maybe they need more play time, or naps, and not so much computer time.

Or maybe we just need to send them to school with bologna in their shoes.

Auto-Correct is Making America Stoopid

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We’ve all seen the funny texts where auto-correct has changed someone’s word and it was sent before they could catch it. I’ve laughed. It’s happened to me. But in the last week I’ve seen several things that are leading me to believe that we need to start catching this now. All we need, America, is another strike against us that affects our employability.

Take for instance an individual that I had a business correspondence with just today. They told me that they didn’t want to “waste their time” but it came out as “waist.” Ok, funny ha ha honest mistake. But the thing is, it was business. And he or she did not bother to proof-read and they didn’t get corrected. We’re becoming a bunch of lazy slobs that expect to be spell-checked.

Back when I was in high school we didn’t have personal computers (that’s what a PC is for anyone under the age of thirty) and calculators weren’t aloud in school. No, this is not about how we had it more difficult and had to walk to school in the snow and how you kids blah blah blah blah blah. We just weren’t allowed to use calculators on tests because they wanted us to use our heads. And as ridiculous as it seemed at the time to me, and they did end up changing the rules, I’m glad. I like being aware!

I didn’t get it because I was actually good at math and I am still the guy that gets handed the restaurant check to figure out who owes how much and how much tip. I don’t know why they do it because my math is flawed in that situation because I always want to tip on hotness of the waitress and want them to tell her instead of my asking her out. What can I say, I still have the nerd shy kid in me.

I can also spell and am fairly good at grammar, although my critiques in writing groups are a bloody mess of corrections in the battlefield that is tenses for me. So I may not be sympathetic enough here, but I do also think I have a point. Just like calculator and later laptops and later iPads in the math classroom, auto-correct and spell check on everything has left us bereft of another basic skill that’s going to land more and more jobs in the outsourced inbox.

Now I can’t speak about other countries, maybe it’s happening there too, but it’s rampant here. Take a classic case of how many people use “ur” in their text messages and emails. That has just multiplied in exponential numbers the people that were already screwing up Your and You’re.

So fellow bloggers and followers that are obviously reading and using the Internet to read this, let’s start with us. I’ve made a vow to do a better job of proof-reading my blogs. For you bloggers, in case you didn’t know, there’s a little Preview button next to the Save Draft. Use it, your blog opens in another window and you can see it as it appears to all your peeps.

And all of you fine people I’m lucky enough to count as followers,  type out “are you home.” It will increase your hand-eye coordination and may burn off a couple of more calories—we really do need to do more about this obesity thing.

But one movement at a time! Join Me. Ashton Kutcher says that smart is sexy and he’s got to be right—he’s tall. Like I said, I like being aware. And that’s what using your head does. The more you pay attention to the simplest of things the more you’ll pay attention to the big beautiful things. Let’s get America smarter!

The Battle of the Brains

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It’s midnight, I want to go to sleep, but I also want to file my blog. I am a man of two minds, not only in this dilemma but the one that’s going on between the two hemispheres in the control of my functions: Left Brain vs. Right Brain.

I’ve found that my current personal and professional goals do battle in my noodle on a regular basis. There is the part of me that wants to be a full time writer and there’s the part of me that likes food and must still continue to do web design. And even though the second can be creative as well, the mathematical part necessary to code a web site puts it often more heavily into the left hemisphere and that side wants to dominate and tell the flaky artistic part to go get a burrito.

So I find myself here, laptop poised, fingers lightly on the a, s, d, f,j k, l and ; keys ready to type and I can’t get the brain to switch over. I slam the heel of my hand against the side of my skull trying to force the synapses to fire that way the way you might try to make water come out your ear. Nothing.

I watch a comedy clip of my favorite stand-up of the moment Louis CK. Nothing.

I wish to run nude and free through the unlimited universe of thought, imagination and creativity but there’s something unfinished on one of my website projects and the stubborn part of me that doesn’t like loose ends still has his pocket protector on.

The Battle of my Brains, or more appropriately, the sides of my brain, are like the battle waged every day in high school cafeterias, the cool kids versus the nerds. Each thinks they are better, each is a little jealous of the other’s capabilities, and neither wants to sit together. And the funny part is they need each other. Like the jock needs the nerd to copy off on test day, I need the left brain to manage websites and social media in order to increase my blogging audience. And like the geek needs the artist to introduce him to the art of talking to girls or at least procure beer so it won’t matter, I need the writer to help with all of the design parts and to keep me inspired on a day to day basis.

So why can’t they all just get along? Why is it that the logical side won’t make room for the creative side and vice-versa? Why do they have to have their “me” time? I suppose it’s like having twins, they both want more attention and will scream louder in an attempt to get it. But just like parents that can be exhausted by all the work until they see the twins dressed up for some special occasion, I should just be thankful that I’ve been blessed with both and keep doing my work.

Thanks for listening.

 

 

 

 

New Phrases

In an attempt to become immortal by having my name associated with writing and sayings ala the great Mark Twain, I have created five new phrases that will soon become part of American, dare I say International, culture.

Peaches and Plums

Ok, if Apples and Oranges is about how difficult it is to pick which one is better, this is quite the opposite. But the sneakiest, cleverest bit is that only the person saying it really knows which one he prefers, which one he thinks is better.

Example: “You know with me honey, blondes and brunettes, peaches and plums.”

Like Two Peas in an Edamame

Using this phrase categorizes two people as being similar, or friends, except it adds that they’re very trendy and maybe a little but full of themselves.

Ex: “Yep went to Hollywood to eat out, hipster joint, every table like two peas in an edamame. And they were all eating it too.”

Which Way The Garbage Swirls

Inlike the phrase “which way the wind blows” where someone believes they can anticipate trends or the future, this phrase honestly says we don’t have a clue, we shouldn’t even try, and anyone who pretends they know is just full of it.

Ex: “Cable news—which way the garbage swirls.”

Mr. Smarty Slacks

Since ‘Mr. Smarty Pants” is so very common to hear when we’re young, this phrase will be used by the one percent.

Ex: “Oh Muffy, did you hear what little Trevor just said? That’s deplorable, the Bushes will be so upset.”

If These Floors Could Talk

This is a whispered aside about someone’s obesity. It’s mean, but maybe it’s a good idea for the economy. Because of the health care thing.

Ex: No you probably shouldn’t try this one, they’ll know.

 

April Fools.

I’m Just Not Built for Social Media

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WARNING: I may sound like an old man here. I’m not sure, but I thought I’d give you the opportunity to skip this blog and return tomorrow. But if you are in your 20s and 30s and agree, I’d also really love to hear from you. I’m putting this out late on a Saturday night so only the hard core followers might read it or the bloggers like me that have no social life.

Social media is such a necessary part of my work as a web designer and writer, yet it goes so against the grain of how I was raised and developed as a professional entertainer. It’s just this close (insert tiny space between thumb and forefinger held closely together) to feeling as fake as if I’d ever gotten a toupee.

Because—I go under the assumption that no one cares that much about me. I’m really happy that people read my blog, but that’s all I could want. I don’t expect them to care what restaurant I’m at, my thoughts, I meant tweets, on each and every incident in the world, or whether I’m experiencing an emoticon.

I was raised, and by raised I mean listened to overweight or over-lived men who were the mentors in a magic group I was in as a teenager. I mean raised in the professional sense. These guys had worked the bar and the nightclub scene in Chicago, so they knew late nights and how to have a killer act that would shut up drunks. And that’s no small feat. These guys lived by the motto “always leave them wanting more” which is entirely counter intuitive to the idea of social media whose motto is “exhaust the f*ck out of them with all your useless thoughts and behaviors.”

And then there’s how I was raised by my dad, and mom, really, not to complain. Not to air out dirty laundry in public. So I’m mystified by the notion that people feel better airing out things on Facebook and Twitter. I sort of get when celebrities do it, or I should say I just assume it’s to get attention. But how regular people can say things about their family, their friends, their job and think that’s ok, just—escapes me. Do they check to know that the people won’t see it? Are they too chicken to say anything in person? Should a breathalyzer be installed on everyone’s laptop, pad and mobile device?

I like the idea of Facebook. I joined when it first started and it seemed kind of cool to get in touch with people you hadn’t seen. And it’s worked out for me to get the word out about my shows and now my writing. Maybe I just need to let people be the way they are and not let it get to me. Let them use it the way they use it and I’ll use it the way I use it. Check in once a day or so and just skim. Get in the game but don’t be ruled by the game.

And maybe I should get that toupee.